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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost (1920)
Ann and I decided to treck our way up to the top of Little Devils Tower with our dear friend Halley yesterday. Little Devils Tower is a wonderful three mile hike that looks out at Harney Peak. It was a blast to get out and walk below some incredible rock formations with Ann and Halley. We had a great chat about our plans, our desires, and the big decisions ahead of Halley and us. It’s always good to have meaningful conversation on a trip with an old friend.
The summit of Little Devils Tower was absolutely gorgeous. My favorite part was being able to see the Cathedral Spires in a 360 degree view. After seeing them, a part of me wants to drop everything and spend a few months climbing every single one of them. That would be living the dream for me. I admit it’s a bit selfish but my desire was sure stirred by the site. I will have to look forward to such a wonderful opportunity on the New Earth that God is preparing for us. I mean there is just way too much work to be done on earth to spend the majority of my life just pursuing my longings.
There is a theme that I hold dear in my heart that we all experienced on this hike: “The adventure doesn’t begin when you lock the car or when you re-tie your shoes, or even when you find the trail head. The adventure begins once you decide to leave the trail and start working your way over mixed terrain.” All of the best, most wonderful places are off the trail. The trail is safe and easy but the glory takes some hard work and a little peril. All of the most dangerous and difficult challenges are never on the trail. And at some point on every hike I choose to leave the trail.
While we were at the summit of the Tower it started raining buckets and hail hard core. Large gum ball size pieces of ice were pelting us all over, so we scrambled for cover. It was wild and exciting. Thunder cracked, the clouds closed in, and little fast moving streams emerged all over the rock. We ended up huddled together under a grove of trees. While there we made sure my camera was dry, and then I said, “Let’s go down a different way.” We scrambled down some bluffs and found ourselves beneath some beautiful rock formations at the bottom of the Tower. The sun would come out for ten minutes and then disappear for ten minutes. The light was always changing. We found ourselves in an amphitheater of rock spires with water cascading off of them, the ground was covered with lush raspberry bushes and ferns all glowing from the rain.
This little spot took my breath away. We had it all to ourselves. And then suddenly it started hailing again. I ran for cover. A short time later the sun came out, brilliantly lit up the rock and took away our shivers so we continued exploring. We came accross a waterfall that had just formed from the rain that ran down the tower. There was a slot in the rock formation that we worked our way up, and we started reascending the tower with water gushing into our shoes. At one point we had to climb under a large boulder that had wedged itself in the slot. It was fun to help each other through this very wet tunnel. The water, the crystals shimmering in the rock, the wild weather, and the view was all just amazing. This was one of the best hikes that we have had in a long time.
Everyone knows Robert Frost’s thoughts on choosing the trail less traveled by. I mostly agree with Frost, but I have found that the best path is not always the less traveled one, but rather the one you cut for yourself. Even if you follow a less traveled path the entire way you will end up right where everyone else does, but by getting off the trail and making your own way you will get to see and experience what no one else does. This applies to our story. There are lots of things that Ann and I can do with our lives. There are lots of ways that Ann and I can earn a living, but in the end we hope to have blazed our own trail and have a countless number of experiences to share. We are not interested in the easy path, the safe path, or the well traveled path. We want to cross rivers, climb granite, and hack through dense forest. Will we proverbially end up at our own waterfall? I hope so!