I love this picture. My amazing husband, our daughter Katie, and our son James and I, are all scrunched together in front of the Upper Falls. Our faces look happy. In fact, we were thrilled! The hike up the Fish Creek Falls trail was brutal! It was our first hike in quite some time with any real elevation gain. Especially a gain that quickly!
When we started out, the kids were full of energy. We left the parking lot and headed downhill. We had done this hike in 2010 and they remembered the cool bridge and waterfall that was waiting for us at the bottom of the hill. They were all fired up!
I didn’t have the heart to remind them of the climb ahead. You can read right there on the trailhead marker that the elevation gain is 2400 feet. What the marker doesn’t say is that the gain will take place immediately! You really have to give these little guys some credit; they used every bit of strength and determination they had to get to the Upper Falls. It wasn’t without its trials though. We were all reminded that the air gets thinner the higher you climb, which equals HARD TO BREATHE! Nevertheless, we pushed onward and upward! We weaved in and out of pine and aspen trees that filled the air with their fragrance. We even took a little break to play in the small bit of snow on the side of the trail.
The kids seemed to have caught their second wind and were anxious to reach the lake that they were sure was just up the trail and around the next corner. They would run ahead, then slow down and then repeat where the trail leveled out. It wasn’t very long before the rocks began to jut out of the ground. Our balance was challenged, as was our determination. This was definately getting a little tricky! It just kept getting harder and harder to balance. Before long, we were hugging the sides of the mountain. The trail and narrowed even more and ran right along side of a drop that would surely injure my babies if they were to lose their footing and fall. My senses were heightened and I started to pray that we would be safe.
I always pray when we hike, mainly because I don’t care to come face to face with any of the local wildlife. I pray for safety from injury, and I pray for God to show me something new; some part of Him that I have never seen before. This hike was no different.
I spent the ascent to the Upper Falls guiding James up the trail and assuring Katie that she would not fall off of the cliff and die! She is usually very adventurous, but she did NOT like being that close to the edge. Can you blame her?
We made it away from the edge, and arrived at the Upper Falls. Everyone was ready for a sit and a snack! Jason and the kids explored and I took a few minutes to thank God for keeping us all safe and just to marvel in the beauty of the falls. As I sat there, I began to think of the climb that we just conquered. I started to think of the hike Jesus took. His last hike, to Golgatha, were He was crucified.
We had just climbed over these harsh rocks in our super sweet hiking boots. He did it barefoot. We were shielded from the sun with our hats and sunglasses. He wore a crown of thorns. We carried a camera. He carried the cross. We had the weight of our packs filled with energy bars and trail mix. He had the weight of our sins. We had plenty of fresh water so that the slightest thirst would be quenched at once. He had a sponge soaked in sour wine mixed with gall.
I had prayed for the safety of my children, that they may not lose their footing and slip from the straight and narrow. How much more has Jesus interceeded for us to the Father? My family was right there with me, I could wrap my arms around them. How much more has he longed to wrap His arms around us, “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings”?
Once again, God had shown me something new. Tears streamed down my face as looked upon the water plunging down, over the rocks. I began to sing quietly: ”Majesty, majesty Your graces found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in Your hands. Majesty, majesty forever I am changed by Your love in the presence of Your majesty.”