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After an energizing breakfast of turkey sausage and granola with yogurt and fresh pear, I was eager to hit the trail before it got too hot. I opted to hike in the cañon, on a trail that is mostly shaded forest before switchbacking up a steep slope. Dragging my sons along with me, we got to the trail by..oops..midmorning. Unfortunately, Colorado is already blazing hot by then. Ah, well, we decided to brave the heat.
And boy I am glad we did. The trail follows a creek for quite a ways before rising sharply above it. We have had several inches of rain in the past few weeks and the creek was a-roaring with water; there are many large boulders that weren’t even visible there was so much water and also signs that the creek had overflowed its banks recently. Just two years ago this creek was mostly bone dry and only a trickle of water in spots. I am mesmerized by the sound of rushing water over rocks, I could sit on the bank of a mountain stream for hours and be lost in the sound and beauty of it all...
Hitting the switchbacks and the boys needed much prodding to continue, but they soon caught their second wind and were running! up the slope. I tire easily climbing in the hot sun and the trail had many washouts from the recent rain which made for treacherous going in spots. But, oh, the views of the cañon were magnificent. I just can’t describe how beautiful it is in here. My youngest son heard a description of a hiker talking about the experience of mountain hiking as feeling physically worn but rejuvenated in spirit, somewhat like a meditation, and my son said, “That’s what hiking feels like to me.” Me too. If it was just for the exercise, I probably would choose something less aerobically intense.
The mountains are my sanctuary.
Toward the top of the slope, just when we feel overheated and want to turn back, we round a corner and, surprise, there is a waterfall cascading off a huge rock face. The waterfall has never been there before, a special treat from the recent rain. We quickly climb to the top and reach the source of the waterfall, usually a small trickle of a spring, now flowing with water. We rest for a few moments and hear thunder quite close by. Not wise to remain on a cliff face with lightning nearby. We descend without incident before the rain hits, having time to wade a little in the creek before heading home.
Physically worn but rejuvenated in spirit... my kind of church.
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