Bob Carter and I enjoyed a three day backpack trip up the Eagle Creek drainage on the south side of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Bob and I have been hiking together since 2003, and we are grateful our legs still let us enjoy these trips.
We left Monday afternoon and found very few others on the trail. The flowers were at their peak, blooming in green expansive meadows beneath formidable peaks and cliffs.
” The mountains are calling and I must answer.” John Muir
When Bob Carter and I started hiking together in 2003, he was 62 and I was 60. We are older and slower now. However, we still have the legs and mental stamina to do this eight mile round trip hike over lots of downed timber and over a couple miles of snow to reach this gorgeous meadow in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. On Monday, June24, we started at the end of the Lostine River Road at Two Pan and hiked up the East Fork of the Lostine River. From tracks we saw, we were only the second people to arrive this season.
More and more, I am convinced how little our politicians, in this country and in the world, can do for us ordinary people. We are the ones who spread the good news of love and forgiveness, not merely by words, but by our interactions, our interconnections with our neighbors, whether we know them well or not.
Despite terrifying acts of violence we can still choose our response: to pray, to restore, to heal.
By creating us in His image, God has shown us His deep and abiding love. Together, we can outweigh, and outlast, all that distorts this image.
Stephen Gould captures this idea most eloquently:
“Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ”ordinary” efforts of a vast majority.
“We have a duty, almost a holy responsibility, to record and honor the victorious weight of these innumerable little kindnesses, when an unprecedented act of evil so threatens to distort our perception of ordinary human behavior” Stephen Gould
“There’s no place to go to find God and no place not to go…Everyday life is where God is most active and where holiness is to be found. As Jesus Christ said, ‘the Kingdom of God is within you.’ Luke 17:21”
Fr Thomas Keating
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
“I am yours for all eternity. I am the Alpha and the Omega; the one who is and was and is to come. The world you inhabit is one of constant change—more than your mind can absorb without going into shock. Even the body you inhabit is changing relentlessly, in spite of modern science’s attempts to prolong life and youth indefinitely. I, however, am the same yesterday and today and forever.
Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock solid foundation for your life. I will never leave your side. When you move on from this life to the next, My Presence beside you will shine brighter with each step. You have nothing to fear, because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. 27 But you are always the same; you will live forever. Psalm 102:25-27
“Say you are in the country, in some land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down into some dale, and leaves you there by some pool or stream. There is magic in it….Yes as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.” Herman Melville
My hiking partner, Bob, and I spent a delightful time in the high Wallowas, far from the “madding crowds.” A ten mile hike and 4000 foot elevation gain to us to the tundra country of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, where its short spring was just arriving. We have been here before, but it was the first time we caught it at the peak of its wildflowers.
“God the sculptor of the mountains; God the miller of the sands. God the jeweler of the heavens; God the potter of the lands. You are womb of all Creation. We are formless, shape us now.” John Thornburg
During these busy times of “doing” Christmas, may we all find moments to simply breathe and be the infinite Love that came to earth so many generations ago, yet still is present and moving in us today.
“Come to us, Holy and Infinite God. Expand our small hearts to make room for your unlimited love and reign in all human hearts as the Prince of Peace.” Evelyn Underhill.
There is no steeper trail in the Eagle Cap Wilderness than the one my long time hiking partner, Bob, and I took this backpack trip the last Thursday/Friday of September. Three thousand feet up in three miles! The trail to the Legore mine and the meadow above is as close to straight up as a trail can be. I had done it several times in my fifties, but at 73, with a backpack, it is much, much steeper than I remembered. What had seemed an easy ascent–and descent (going down was more treacherous than going up)–twenty years ago, was far different now.
We did 1500 feet up to Sawtooth Peak Friday morning. We saw both big horn sheep and mountain goats. Then we headed back down to camp, packed up and dropped the 3000 feet to the trailhead. (Lots of elevation for one day) I was as tired as I have ever been, but still exhilarated by what we accomplished!
Hurricane Creek. Falls Creek. Eagle Cap Wilderness
The Falls Creek trail is steep
Where we camped above the Legore mine
Hiking up the gully to the bowl below Sawtooth Peak