I didn't realize what it was that first drew me to the wilderness. I think it was the adventure and my desire to get away from all the clutter. I was invited on a backpacking trip through the collegiate peaks near Buena Vista Colorado when I was 16. The only camping I had done at this point was in my back yard. I spent that week, learning how to wipe with leaves, experiencing the effects of going from sea level to 14,000 feet in 48 hours, and falling in love with the majesty that is nature.
I was hooked! Back in North Carolina, my best friend and I would find any excuse to escape to Pisgah National Forest. Being naive teenagers, we would leave a party at mid night, throw some sleeping bags in the Explorer and make the 2 hour trip to Linville Gorge where a 1.5 mile hike down the mountain awaited us. It was miserable in the moment as we hiked in the dark and pretty much stumbled down the mountain, but completely worth it to hear the rush of the river as we laid down to sleep. The Gorge was our escape in high school. It freed us from the world and made us feel alive. The parties and social scene could never fill my bucket but something about the wild made me overflow.
I took another trip to Colorado then to Montana, Wyoming, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Arizona, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Everywhere I go, I encounter Gods creation and I am overwhelmed, I am set free.
The clear water of the Caribbean purifies my mind and reminds me of God's perfection.
The Rockies shock me and contend that I am but a man.
The Tetons cut into the sky the way Gods truth is meant to penetrate our hearts.
I see his creativity and joy in the sky.
And His might in the strike of lightning and the roar of thunder.
He fills the depths of the Grand Canyon and the heights of the sky.
The horses of Shakelford Island remind me of His provision.
The Volcanoes of Central America cry out that God is raw and unrefined.
His love can be seen and felt by simply saying yes.
The wilderness demands this response. You must "be still and know that He is God."