Remember in the Valley what you have seen on the Mountaintop!

            Denali Summit

“One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memories of what one saw higher up.”   Rene’ Daumal

Life is filled with peaks and valleys, triumphs and seeming disasters. So often we find ourselves overwhelmed and questioning whether we really experienced that previous great moment, Did that really happen? When we find ourselves in a dark place, struggling to plow through pain or difficulties it’s vitally important to remember what we saw from the heights or we can get lost, not being able to see the forest for the trees!

Psalm 121 speaks to this: I will lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

The greatest blessings and challenges that have come to me recently have come  through the writing of An Alaskan Life of High Adventure. Finding myself facing a current challenge in life, the Lord asks me, “Do you really believe what you wrote in that book? He causes me to consider how He has delivered me in miraculous ways from past life-threatening problems and I am encouraged to trust Him for both today and tomorrow.

The effect of remembering the mountaintop is a refreshed faith, a “Peace that passes all understanding,” and freedom from fear and worry in the valley.




Come to the Quiet

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul.”        John Muir

Another way to say it would be in the language of Psalm 23, “He leads me beside quiet waters and green pastures. He restores my soul.”

On a recent solo trip into the Collegiate Peaks wilderness I experienced days of quiet and beauty. Mts. Harvard and Columbia were great, but the best was found in the peace and quiet that saturated my soul. I spent hours just resting, enjoying the views and appreciating the riot of fall colors, the bubbling mountain stream and the high mountain meadow.

Quiet can be found anywhere if we are willing to look for it. In the pre-dawn or late night peace or through an intentional walk around the block we can find room to take a breath, collect ourselves and listen for the still, quiet voice of the Great Shepherd. We are never alone as “the Lord our Peace,” said He will never leave us.

Discretion is the Better Part of Valor

Visibility and temperatures drop as the clouds lower, rain and wind increase as you climb a high mountain ridge. Time to go home!

Often, as we venture into areas of risk in life, whether on purpose or circumstantially, we find ourselves in need of a reverse gear. My son Michael and my attempted traverse of El Diente peak and Mt. Wilson in the Colorado Rockies was one of those. Up early after a crystal clear night, we noticed the stars were not as visible and it was warmer than it should be. Not good signs in the mountains! After some time scrambling up steep talus slopes by the light of our headlamps we began to experience light rain, then wind and sideways, driven rain as we climbed into the lowering clouds around 13,000 ft. The temperature began to drop as well as the cloud cover, the wind kept increasing and soon we came to the disappointing conclusion that it was time to head down.

It was a great trip! Sometimes the experience of the moment is more memorable than an achieved summit. Life is like that. Enjoy the moment, draw close to your teammates. Communicate. Watch out for each other and you’ll find your trusted relationships deepening. Even when we don’t get where we want to go physically, the highest and most fulfilling goal of all is deep and genuine relationships with God and one another. Michael and I had many wonderful hours of quiet conversation and enjoyment of the surrounding beauty as well as the miles of slogging through the mud under our heavy packs on the hike out!

Live the Adventure!

What’s Your Story?

So, what do you think? Is there a God who cares and intervenes in our lives at our invitation? That’s certainly my experience. What about you? Have you had experiences that convince you that there is “Something More?” Tell me about it….