Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Trial of the Trail

Coal Lake

I discovered a beautiful little lake a few years back called Coal Lake. It is at about 4000' elevation in the Cascade Mountains on the West side. When I first discovered it, I was looking for the trail to North Lake and Independence Lake which start nearby. Coal Lake is not large but it is deep and cold, coming directly from snow pack most of the year. The drawback to Coal Lake when I first discovered it is that it is only 100' from the road. Therefore, it was overused and badly in need of rehabilitation.

And then came the rains of 2005. The rains washed out the road about 3 miles from the trail head, and I do not think there will be a repair of the wash out. It is rather major. In addition, since that time three more landslides have come down to cover the road. Now, it is a 3+ mile hike to this little beauty. Margaret, Annie and I tackled this one a few days back and totally enjoyed the experience. Most of the trail is old road, so it is easy to walk and easy on the feet (something which is becoming more of a priority these days).

As we approached the lake, we were in for a surprise. At that elevation on July 8 there was still a good bit of snow. A tent was pitched at the lake, so I am sure they enjoyed some chilly nights sitting on snow all night.

As I think back on this hike, there are several things that come to mind. Like a road that needs maintenance and care, our lives need to have routine maintenance. This road washed out because the culvert that allowed a small stream to pass under the road most of the year clogged up with debris and allowed a massive amount of rain to wash out the road. I like to take my Bible and sit down on a Saturday or Sunday morning when it is still early and quiet in the house and just read. For me, this time of reading is a time of cleansing and renewal. This is not my only reading time, but it is unique and a special time when routine maintainence is done on my soul. Taking a good recording of a special hymn or song that is rich with meaning also helps to fine tune my appetite for the Lord.

It will not be many years and this road, which was once the route of travel for log trucks and heavy equipment will be a single track through a thicket of young trees. They have already sprouted along the edge and show good signs of taking hold. Hikers will keep a path open if the three lakes continue to attract visitors. Left to itself, this road will eventually pass away and return to the condition of the land before the road was cut. If we are interested in keeping a spiritual life that is vibrant, we need to make regular paths to the Word, so that our time of neglect does not allow our lives to get overgrown with things that choke out the Word. Jesus spoke of that in a word picture when speaking of the story of the sower.

A small lake, which once was taken for granted by the many who passed by on the road is now appreciated as a destination and resting place by those who need to struggle to get there. Admittedly, the struggle is not great, but it is more than it was. I think we tend to appreciate more those things that we struggle for. Join with me in working hard at not neglecting the ones or things which we consider "easy" and in showing appreciation for the things God has put in our lives that come with effort.

I just got home from a long day at Home Depot. I was on my feet all day helping customers and loading block. My feet were tired this evening. But there was a sense of satisfaction that accompanied the tired feet. They showed that something had been accomplished. In a few days, that accomplishment will be rewarded with a check. There is something good about the struggle of accomplishment.