Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. Psalm 16:9
A flurry of activity was underway at my house. It was time for another Pathfinder backpacking trip. I pushed back a feeling of foreboding as I checked off my supply list, knowing our club has a track record of memorable backpacking excursions. I loaded in dehydrated food, a portable cooking stove, and Hothands hand warmers into my pack, knowing that this winter trip needed extra preparation. “It’ll be fun,” said my Pathfinder leader, “a three mile pack in on Friday, a four mile hike on Sabbath, and when we get to the end of the trip, we will go to a local natural spring and have a nice hot soak on Sunday.” I wished I could believe it. Turns out that despite the assurances of the Pathfinder leaders, a few details had been missed in the planning process, including the study of the topography of the route, and failing to factor in the extreme weather that was looming. We set off on the trail in happy spirits. So far, the trip was going according to plan; but then the weather started to change. Soon, temperatures had dropped to freezing, and a miserable rain began. Saturday, we awoke to our tents awash in water and mud. But luckily, I was in a hammock! After we ate our lackluster breakfast, we started out. It became apparent that this trip was not only going to be much longer than originally planned, but that it was also becoming unsafe. I watched as seasoned hikers and some of the fittest people I know began to experience fatigue and drop food, clothes and even tents by the side of the trail. I realized that there were still three 1,000-foot-tall mountains that we had to climb in our remaining 12-mile trek. Leaders stopped and we all said group prayers multiple times throughout the hike. It was at this time that I knew the only way we would get out safely was with God’s help. Through His divine mercy we managed to finish the hike, 16 miles in total. And at the end, as we waited for our bus to come and pick us up – I’ve never felt better in my whole life. I missed out on the hot springs but did not miss out on the feeling of warmth that spread through me when I realized God had kept us safe!
By: Chase Warner ('23)
Fletcher, North Carolina