Those who have started hiking on a trail before dawn can understand the discomforts involved in sunrise mountain photography. It is especially difficult for people like me who enjoy sleep. Sleep is wonderful! Getting up before dawn is the opposite of wonderful, but waking up when you are camping at tree line and you haven’t slept more than two hours because you’re cold and you keep hearing noises outside thinking a bear is going to attack your tent in the middle of the night can be extremely uncomfortable. Then, once you are finally able to convince your body to get up, you proceed to spend the next 10 hours hauling that body uphill (and downhill) on loose rocks with 30% less oxygen and weather that fluctuates like the outfit my wife chooses on Sunday morning.
Almost every time I go, I ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Why am I putting my body through such torture? What do I actually gain from reaching the summit of this mountain?
There are many rewards we receives from hiking:
> A sense of accomplishment
> Exercise and physical discipline
> The excitement of the adventure
> Quality time with friends
> Artistic inspiration
> Photo opportunities
> Not being at work
> Taking your shoes off when you get back to the car
These are all good, but I think the real reward for me is found in the spiritual desires of the heart.
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35
It is impossible to not be inspired by the awesome beauty of the mountains. When my own eyes watch the sunlight dance on the clouds illuminating the jagged peaks in a bright orange alpenglow, I can’t help but praise the Creator. I find that, in trading comfort for beauty, I am closer to understanding the heart of God. It is in the quiet, wild solitude that the worries and frustrations of life are drowned out by His glory. Many times I go to pray and share with Him what’s on my mind and end up doing more listening than speaking. It is at those times that He gives me rest in His grace and His promises. I will usually return to my truck physically exhausted and ready to collapse; yet in contrast, I am completely rested and recharged mentally and spiritually.
My dad once said that everyone should try to get out into God's country a couple times a year. It's an experience that helps put things in perspective and shows truly how small we are, how seemingly insignificant our worldly problems are in the grand scheme of things. Maybe the mountains are not about how small we are, but they help give us a glimpse of how big God is.
Thanks for reading!
"Soli Deo Gloria"