Hooray! for our fourth trip up to the top of Table Rock, and an even bigger Hooray! for our newest hiking buddy, Mr. Braxton. We left the bungalow early, and started our trek up a little after nine o'clock. Even with the extra loads we both carried, we still made it up to the top in the same amount of time that we usually do, and we were impressed by + thankful for the super-strength granted to us by our Creator. Table Rock is a mental battle as well as a physical battle, and we celebrated the grace given to us with every mile-marker that we passed. B did great for most of our explorations, but there were a few times when he started screaming uncontrollably - one of which lasted for thirty minutes (it may not sound like much, but oh, it was). Once he surrendered his stubbornness + laid his head down, however, the screams stopped and he fell right asleep. Being carried up to a beautiful overlook would probably make me unhappy, too...sike!
Speaking of the overlook, it appeared as though all we were going to see was clouds, because the sky was full of them. I wasn't too thrilled about this, because the view is the main reason we huff + puff up the mountain, but we decided to stick to the plan and go any way. The whole time we fiercely climbed up, I did my usual: prayed a lot about a lot. This morning, in particular, I asked God to part the clouds so that we could see the view we had set out to see. With only three hundred feet in elevation to go, we paused to break + feed B on Governor's Rock, and we were legitimately sitting in a cloud. We stayed the course, and just as we were walking towards the lookout after taking a "WE DID IT!" picture at the tip top, the clouds parted, blue skies came into view, and the sun cleared away the fog that was covering the treetops. It was incredible! The clouds came back almost immediately after we started our descent, and the final two miles were spent climbing down in the rain. Our greatest hiking adventure to date? Quite possibly.
Here to hoping that this next year of explorations are just as fruitful as the previous three years have been! Have I mentioned how much I love these boys and our crazy shenanigans? I do, I do!
While we were snacking + hydrating + resting at the top with miles + miles spread out before us, Teesh + I talked about how this particular trail is humbling like no other, and we also reflected on the spiritual perspective it gives. Those three-point-seven miles up are tough; they require endurance, steadfastness, watchfulness, and patience. But, as soon as you reach your destination, you almost instantly forget how hard it was to get there. The pain that you experienced getting there doesn't compare with the joy that overwhelms you once your eyes behold so much beauty. That's why this particular hike is my favorite - because it reminds me that I must not give up while in route the destination, that I will have to humble myself and rest while getting there, that hard work really is worth the reward, and that there is nothing in the world more beautiful than the One who created all the beautiful things around me. No trials, no matter how big or small, can compare to the steadfastness being perfected in me, the joy that is mine in Christ right now, and the beauty that my eyes behold when He parts the clouds. Jesus has come to give me abundant life, and He is the reason (often times the only reason) that I keep on keeping on.
This little tradition of ours is so much more than just meandering through trees on dirt paths, and I'm so thankful that He enables us to seek Him + find Him in settings that provide clearness of mind + openness of heart + vulnerability of spirit. God is so good, y'all.