Hiking Mount Roberts


Views on our way to the top of Mount Roberts

We finally awoke to a "dry" day in Juneau. The sun wasn't shining and there was a heavy cloud cover overhead; but for the moment, the clouds were higher in the sky, and other than an occasional drizzle that was meant to remind us that we were, indeed, in Alaska, they were keeping their moisture to themselves. It would likely be our only chance to take the Mount Roberts Tramway and get a view of the city and its beautiful harbor.

We had a smooth ride to the top of the tramway, and we were blessed by the view and the beautiful mountainous scenery. We even headed out unto one of the indicated tourist paths where we encountered Miss Porcupine and surreal scenes that could have come out of the Lord of the Rings movie (No orcs, sorry).

As the weather seemed to be continuing to cooperate, we decided to hike the final three miles to the summit of Mount Roberts. We were anticipating the view from the top! As soon as we veered off the main path however, onto a lesser-used trail up the mountain, the meteorological conditions turned sour and the clouds began to spit out droplets of their heavenly liquid.

This did not deter us from our goal. We doggedly continued huffing and puffing up the mountain. Actually, I was the one huffing and puffing. My family must have lungs made out of iron!

Besides my complaining lungs, I had yet another challenge that my family didn't have to worry about. I was wearing sandals, and they tended to shift under my weight. As we crossed icy patches of old snow and pools of muddy yuck, I slipped a few times; but by staying focused, I was able to continue on. At our last rest area we had a visit from a grouse and her chicks. A real nice, hospitable family!

By this time my glasses were fogging up to the point that I could hardly see through them. It was also pouring (In French we say it is "raining ropes". I think this is a better expression than "cats and dogs", don't you? I've never seen a cat or a dog come down from the sky in my life!) This was when I began worrying about the condition of the return trail.

Then our trek became much steeper, made even more challenging by the fact that the rain was turning the rocks we were climbing into skating rinks. Besides, my lungs had already had more of this climb than they wanted to have! This was when I asked God to confirm whether or not we should revaluate our destination. We immediately heard thunder. The orcs were finally on the loose, and our final destination was starting to look impossible.

"Guys," I huffed, "I don't think I can make it all the way to the top, and I'm concerned about going back down over this slippery rock. Why don't you go on without me?"

They looked disappointed, but my wife responded with, "No, it could be dangerous for us to split up. Besides, I'm concerned about the trail back down as well. Come on boys, we had better go back down!"

I was touched when my kids didn't argue, and soon we were on our way back to our safe haven where the orcs couldn't reach us. The path had indeed become a lot more slippery, but with the help of my troopers, I was nursed to safety.

So often we tend to zoom through life only thinking about ourselves and our own goals, and in doing so, we intentionally or unintentionally step on others as we go by. Nothing deters us from our objective.

I have to ask myself if this kind of attitude is worth the consequences. Aren't we encouraged to love one another instead of making sure that every item of our to-do list (which is unending anyway!) gets checked off? Aren't people more important than tasks to be accomplished? Will our accomplished goals even be remembered when we eventually leave this planet? Isn't it time to revaluate our goals?

May we make the following texts a reality in our lives:

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples - when they see the love you have for each other." (John 13:34-35 The Message)

"This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. 13 This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends." (John 15:12-13 The Message)

"Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don't need me to tell you what to do. You're God-taught in these matters. Just love one another!" (1 Thess 4:9 The Message)

"Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it." (1 Peter 1:22 The Message)

We may continue to make the pursuit of our own goals our primary purpose, but no achievement is greater than really loving one another! Take the time to enjoy the view! Love is indeed the best goal to pursue!

Rob Chaffart


 

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