The high country has always beckoned me. This is owed in part to being the third generation of my family to live in the central Sierra Nevada. It also extends from what I sometimes refer to as my “coming alive” experiences in the mountains. They started when I was a boy, going into the mountains with my dad and other family members. We visited old family haunts and hang-outs, and explored the woods. Later, these experiences became more transformative in my high school years as I began to venture into the wild more often, and more often alone.
Picture: White Cloud Peaks in Idaho, a trip with my friend, Joe Gore and his family, 2016
I now live in NW Minnesota, where the nearest mountains are more than a day’s drive away. Still, every year I am called back to the mountains – the Sierra, the Bighorns in Wyoming, the Rockies in Idaho, the canyon lands of Utah. Going there – wherever “there” is – fills me with energy, quiets my spirit, focuses my thinking, and gives me much time alone with my God.
Picture: Alone in the Bighorn Range, Wyoming.
Our “wilderness experiences” come in many forms. Some we choose, like rambling through the mountain wilderness. Others find us, like adversity, setbacks and heartaches, even disasters. Fortunately, we need not waste any of our wilderness experiences. They are gifts to us, opportunities to grow strong and deep, to find our God in the deeper ways that only the wilderness reveals. All of the great people, those of moral courage and strength of character, traversed their wilderness experiences. We grow when we seek our own experiences, and embrace those handed to us in life. Let us not waste these opportunities, but let us embrace them and work them for all they are worth to us.
Picture: Little Lakes Valley and Bear Creek Spire, Sierra Nevada. My destination the week of this post.
Go get your wilderness! Godspeed!