Of all the things I’ve done in the last year, I think climbing Mt. Pilchuck was probably my favourite personal accomplishment — or, at least it’s something I’m most glad I did. Through all the years of pregnancies and nursing babies, tending the home, homeschooling the children and church related commitments, I didn’t even consider a lot of outside activities — well, at least not outside of my small realm, anyway. And I certainly never even considered hiking. Probably not even once. Really.
I would have said that I am just not the “outdoorsy” type and that the only reason to walk somewhere would be to get something or put something away. Walking for the sake of walking or hiking just to hike would never have been in the realm of possibility for me. I never considered hiking to be… well, wait… I just never considered hiking.
But year after year I would see that mountain in the distance… its jagged peaks covered in snow and on winter afternoons, the sun shining on it at sunset made it sort of glow. I knew different people who climbed Mt. Pilchuck and raved about how beautiful it was there. I remember some time after we moved to this house I would say: I’m going to climb that mountain when I am 40. Okay… so that never happened. Then a couple of years ago I recalled that I had said that. I’d occasionally heard people talking about hikes and favourite destinations — one being Heather Lake and another, Mt. Pilchuck. Some of our children had even hiked there.
My husband, wise man that he is, set a time for us to hike to Heather Lake… and as we were hiking, I thought to myself… why would people do this over and over? Then we rounded a point on the trail that brought Heather Lake into view and I realized for the first time in my life that there are just some things for which there is no reason but for the beauty of a scene or the experience of seeing — simply seeing — God’s marvelous creation. And that hike was one such experience.
After that, I knew I just must get to the top of Mt. Pilchuck — and that nothing would deter me. ;o) And so I set the date in my mind and our whole family made the hike on my half-birthday. I knew they could do it… but I never thought I could — mostly bcz I hadn’t ever tested myself to see what I had in me, if you know what I mean. I love to work – and I love to work hard – but I don’t hike… ride bikes… skate… play sports or anything like that. But I thought… am I never going to do tough things again in my life? Am I never going to do ‘athletic’ things? Wow… that was shocking – bcz I adamantly determined that that wasn’t going to be the case — I was going to do things — lots of things! And climbing that mountain was one of them!! It’s sort of like I realized that until I die I am going to live – and do so intentionally!
As I look out today — those beautiful snow-capped peaks gleaming in the sun — I have an anxious feeling: I gotta get back to the top of that mountain. I can’t wait.
I was crying when I reached the summit and climbed that ladder to the look-out tower. I had made it! My sweet family was with me! The next thing to do was to go inside to document the event in the guestbook. Next time I go I’m going to bring back a rock from the top — I forgot to do that last time!
Actually, my bigger goal was to walk out and stand on the rock… it was totally worth the whole hike! In the photo below, because of the extreme wind, I had stepped down to the lower rock of the ridge… it was quite a thrill. I loved seeing for miles and miles and looking out at all the cities below… I loved the totally out in the open feeling and the blessing of standing on the mountaintop as a living picture of lessons I’ve learned in life walking with the LORD through valleys and mountaintops.
All the way up the mountain I had been singing over and over again the chorus: “When the morning comes on the farthest hill, I will sing His Name, I will praise Him still; When dark trials come and my heart is filled with the weight of doubt I will praise Him still…. For the Lord our God He is strong to save, from the arms of death to the deepest grave, and He gave us life in His perfect will and by His good grace I will praise Him still…”
Standing on that mountaintop… I remembered I had determined to live! before I die.
Praise, praise the Lord.
As I look out at the peak today… I smile thinking: I’ve been there! I can’t wait to go again!!