Guidelines: Lamp Lit Hike


It was still complete darkness outside when I stepped from the warmth of the truck cab and onto the cold pavement. I turned on my headlamp and walked to edge of the road, the gravel of the shoulder crunched beneath my step.  My brother waited a moment as I stood illuminated in his crimson tail lights. It was 5 a.m., and he had dropped me off near the base of the mountain. The plan was for me to hike to the summit and be in position before first light.

I stood briefly on the shoulder of the road, this was the verge of security, and I took a deep breath before I continued toward the challenge that lay ahead.  I stepped off the gravel and onto unbroken ground as the pickup slowly drove out of sight. Within moments, I found myself surrounded by a jungle of six-foot tall sagebrush, making it extremely difficult to see more than about 10’feet in front of me. 

I broke through the ranks of sage soldiers and reached the base of the mountain. As I paused for a moment before starting up the steep ascent, I noticed just how silent and alone I truly was. I turned off my headlamp, and listened; it was utter silence and a deep, consuming darkness. The cloud cover had blocked even the stars from illuminating and it was so dark it seemed heavy.

I turned the headlamp on and started the ascent. The beacon of light from the lamp lit out in front of me 20 to 30 feet at a time depending on the trees and terrain. As I continued moving forward, I was able to pick my way up the entire mountain and reach my desired destination just before the sun began to spark the first ignitions of color across the eastern skyline. 

I watched as the large canyon below me transformed as the light touched upon it. It began as a huge dark abyss and grew into a shadowed barrage of grey and black. Slowly out of the shadows, oblique shapes and forms began to emerge, and eventually the pines, oak brush, and boulders began to become more defined. Within an hour, the sun had crept over the horizon, and sent its array of color upon the canyon, and it was brilliant!

I know at times we may be going along through dark moments and are not able to see too far down the trail. If we will keep moving forward, so does the light. We may not be able to see the whole picture right now, but we will eventually. Keep trudging through the darkness and know that the sun will rise in the morning, and our world, in one ray at a time, will be brilliant and light once again. Keep moving forward, the daybreak is worth it, life is good!

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