Monday, August 15 2022 - 3:55 AM
people hiking
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Hiking to My Eternal Destination

Five guy friends and I decided to go on a challenging afternoon hike to a small mountain lake in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. As we strapped on our hiking boots and packed our day bags, I thought; finally, this is my chance to show them how tough I am.

We huddled around the map while Connor, who planned the hike, showed us the route we would take. There wasn’t a trail, but he said it would be manageable.

We found the creek that would lead us up to the small mountain lake a half-mile in. Three to six-foot boulders and fallen logs spread out through the rushing creek bed. I followed Connor up the bank while the other guys climbed forward on the logs and rocks. Soon the bank became too steep to hike up and we decided that we should rejoin the others down in the creek. This is great, I thought; I can easily keep up navigating the creek.

Our descent into the creek started when Connor climbed over a large boulder. But as I pushed myself up onto the five-foot-tall boulder, bees surrounded me, attacking, biting, and stinging me everywhere. I couldn’t go back, but going forward wasn’t working either. I was stuck.

“Help!” I desperately yelled. “Help!”

Connor and another friend turned around, saw me struggling, ran over, and grabbed my arms—pulling me over. My whole body stung as I fought the flow of tears.

Connor pulled sting ointment out of his first-aid kit. I applied it and took some ibuprofen for the pain. I wanted to go on. Sort of. I wanted to be tough. After a few minutes of soldiering forward, I noticed my arms and hands swelling up. Concerned about an allergic reaction to the bee stings, I took Benadryl. Drowsiness, the main side effect, kicked in within 30 minutes. Now, unable to keep my eyes open, I struggled to keep my balance while stumbling onward.

Finally, we reached the area Connor had said was a grassy meadow. The grassy field turned out to be six-foot high bushes. We traipsed through, but the bushes were ripping us apart. My legs and arms were completely slashed. Blood covered my skin. This was not a good add-on to my ever-present sleepiness, swelling, and stinging. I wondered, Why didn’t I turn around after the bees? Why did I keep going? I felt embarrassed and powerless.

Soon we reached the point on the map where we were supposed to traverse up a small ridge to find the trail that would lead us to the lake. The hiking trail, however, wasn’t there. Unsure of where to go, the six of us split into different directions looking for the slightest hint of it. Eventually, mountain bikers rode by us and pointed us toward the lake.

Finally! We arrived! Relief filled me. We made it. I made it. The lake and the view were astounding! All of us jumped in. The cold, refreshing water helped calm the sting and clean the blood from my arms and legs. While swimming in the lake, our view showed the beautiful city of McCall and the large Payette Lake below. It was pure bliss.

When I remember this adventure, it was traumatic, but it is also one of my favorite memories. My struggles brought my friends and me closer together. I had chosen to go on this hiking adventure mostly because I wanted to show them how strong I was, but instead, I was humbled.

It reminds me that not only did I need my friends’ help in getting to my final destination, but I also need God’s help in keeping my eyes on my eternal destination.

If you liked this, you might also like The Rope Path | 4 Things Everyone Should Know About Humility 

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About Kaley Wolfkill

Kaley Wolfkill

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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