Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Trail Thoughts

Thinking of a name for this blog, I chose the title "MYTRAILTHOUGHTS" I am planning to spend a significant amount of time this summer on the trail - literally - walking and thinking through important issues. I am also on a personal trail, an adventure really, of waiting on the Lord, keeping busy with His revealed will, and seeking His direction for life and ministry - so there is a trail there too, although one that I will have to walk with few others.

One of my first trails this year was a hike to Shaw Lake. I came across the existence of this lake last fall during hunting season when I talked with several people who had been there and back. The trail is really an old logging road that has been removed from road use and turned into foot and bike traffic only. Entrance is through a gate that has been erected to keep out motorcycles and cars. However, motorcycle riders have made a trail around the gate and use the roadway frequently.

After half a mile, the road heads uphill for the rest of the 3.5 miles to the lake. Some of the land has been clear cut of logs and replanted with new fir trees. Some of the land is second growth timber - land that was cut about 50 years ago, replanted and now has fir trees that are about 100' tall. Some of the land is covered with old growth timber - forest that has never been cut. All of this land is well managed and one day will be cut again when the trees mature.

When the timber company was done with the most recent harvest, they cut ditches across the road every 50 to 100 yards. Some are 2-3 feet deep and others are 6-8 feet deep. These ditches allow rain and snow melt to head downhill. The rock roadbed is still in place and useable in the future, after the ditches are filled in. In the meantime, foot traffic, and the few motorcycles brought in are the main travelers.

As the road switches back and forth across the face of the mountain, a new perspective of the surrounding land is seen. With each 100 feet in elevation gain, the horizon expands and the view keeps on getting better. The patchwork view of the land shows evidence of the result of long term timber harvest and land management.

I need to stop and rest a few times along the way. I cut a walking stick for myself and use it the rest of the trip. Soon, I pass through a stand of maturing fir trees and hear a drumming sound. It is a male grouse, strutting his stuff and trying to impress his future wife. Another male sounds off, seeking to claim his bride. This is a great sound; one not heard back in the city.

After a couple of hours, I reach the top of the ridge. There I come across a swampy pond area. Lots of visible beaver activity. Many trees have been gnawed on and some have fallen into the water. After a while, I see a beaver ever so briefly as he quickly dives beneath the water.

I continue on to the lake and am pleased to find a beautiful spot. Quiet, peaceful, and filled with small black flies that like to bite. After a few rocks skipped on the surface of the glassy lake and after a few pictures, I tire of swatting the flies and start on the move again. It seems like they stay away when walking but swarm to the victim when I stop.

This has been a great day for reflection. Prayer over needs, people and situations abounds. A time of praising the Lord in song is also a great way to spend the day.

On the way back, the trail is downhill all the way - something that my knees tell me with each step is not a good thing. I am glad for the walking stick I chose at the beginning of the trip.

Lesson: the downhill would seem to be easier. But when the uphill struggle is removed, the downhill "coasting" has its own set of stresses and strains. Do not complain about the uphill struggles of life. The downhill times can be even rougher.