On a rainy Sunday, a good friend of mine started on a long journey through the woods. On Saturday, he graduated from high school with 45 college credit hours and a full-ride scholarship to a private college. Instead of doing the typical high school senior stuff on his last summer vacation before college. He decided to go on a 2,190 mile walk in the woods. Skipping the beach, the parties, and the non-sense most 18 year olds do. His dream to hike the Appalachian Trail turned reality his last two years of high school.
Shortly after turning 16, Baylor and I went on his first backpacking trip. Everything and I mean everything went perfect. The weather was beautiful and warm, the fire started right away, the couscous and food we ate was amazing, we got up at 2 am and hiked to the summit and saw a beautiful red fox. One thing did not go the way we planned though. When we got to the summit it was covered in fog, you could barely tell that the sun was rising. It was cold and windy. We were hungry and couldn't even get our breakfast cooked. So after a few minutes of shivering we started our return. While that summit trip did not go as planned. Baylor's first backpacking trip went down in the books as perfect.
Every time I take a walk in the woods, I learn something new about our Creator. On our "perfect" trip, I realized that our Creator is not on some high mountain somewhere 24/7. Often times our Creator is in the valleys, down in the trenches with us. Even when we think times are perfect, our Creator walks alongside us ready for the first sign of trouble. Our Creator revealed Himself and His character in a small red fox that morning. The red fox probably walked with us for several hundred feet before we heard her. She quietly walked alongside us. Almost as if to ensure our safe passage. When we heard her, we turned and stood still. Silent. She was looking at us and we were staring back amazed with her beauty. Her blood orange coat, her dark eyes reflecting our headlamps, her paw cocked ready to take that next step.
Even though the end of our summit trip ended in cold and foggy weather. I am thankful for that fog. I think often expect to see our Creator at the tops of mountains, we like this concept that the closer we are to the sky, the closer we are to Him. However, on our treks in the valleys our Creator is with us there. He was also in the bloody cold wind at the summit. Our Creator is a beauty in which sometimes we have to be quiet and still to see. Other times he is so present that it overwhelms our senses.
As Baylor embarks on this opportunity of a lifetime I pray that our Creator is revealed to him one step at a time. I pray that when Baylor's body is exhausted that our Creator's beauty and power lures him another step. I pray that Baylor sees beauty on the mountaintops just as he sees beauty in the valleys.
Throughout the last half of 2017, Baylor will be on the Appalachian trail. I have asked him to occasionally send me updates, God moments, thoughts, and revelations on his journey. Some I will share here, others you will need to sit down and have a conversation with him. Pray for Baylor's journey and his safety. Our Creator has big plans for my friend, my brother.