Garcia Trail, 1

I may have mentioned it in the past, I don’t go out much and I’m not very active.  I keep telling myself I should really work out—running, weightlifting, mountain biking—something, anything.  This morning, I went hiking for the first time in 10 years.  I believe the last time I went hiking was the Haleakala Crater back on Maui.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy hike.  Garcia Trail in Azusa is a short 1.2 mile hike.  The problem with these 1.2 miles is that it ascends 1100 feet in the process.  That steep elevation is what makes the hike challenging—especially if you’re from the out of shape crowd.  When I started the hike, I knew I was in bad shape when I already felt my heart racing in the first 100 ft (distance, not elevation).  At that point, I knew this was going to be a long morning.

I quickly breathed in the cool morning air.  It was pleasant at first, but the speed of inhaling created a burning sensation in my lungs.  My body didn’t know where the need for all this sudden energy came from.  My heart beat as fast as possible to pump fresh blood to my legs at the start of this hike.   I looked towards the top of the hill and pointed, “I’m going to make it to the top.”  I looked up to the sky and asked God to give me the strength to do this.  I know, it’s just a 1.2mi/1100ft hike/climb.  One could say I only needed the will power to do it.  My heart alone wasn’t conditioned to take on this task by itself.  No, instead, I prayed and asked him for the strength I need to conquer the hike to the top.  That was the plan.  Get to the top.  He reminded me that He will determine my steps (Proverbs 16:9).  He will be with me every step of the way.

Hikers of all ages and experiences passed me on the way up.  I was a bit discouraged at first.  Maybe it wasn’t worth seeing the top.  Maybe I should take it one small hike at a time—complete the plan in increments over the course of a week.  No.  I remained focused.  God kept taking me up one step at a time.  It took me close to an hour to climb the 1100 feet in 1.2 miles.  I didn’t care.  I got to the top.  I made it.

At the top of the hill was a white cross.  Behind the cross was a mailbox with a couple of notebooks and a Bible.  The notebooks was a log of people who made the climb.  There were prayer requests.  Some wrote stories about their hike to the top.  Some of them profess their love for one another.  Not all were Christian, but there were many that witness as one.   Even though the overcast hasn’t quite burned off for the day, it was still a sight to see overlooking the San Gabriel Valley from atop that hill.  I honestly believe that I, personally, could not have made that hike on my own.  God helped me step by step with such a simple plan; I should expect that kind of help in my grander plans in life.  God’s power is limitless.  That first hike is a reminder: He’s there with me every step of the way.