“Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God– it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “…believe also in Me” (John 14:1), NOT, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I recently returned from the high benches above the Snake River in Hells Canyon. The wildflowers are always remarkable as they briefly burst forth. I never know how many there will be, nor how long they will bloom before they fade. However, I do know, they will be there; that I will be surprised, and that I am always with God.
Meg and I enjoyed our annual trip camping trip high above Hells Canyon, near Hat Point in Wallowa County. The Seven Devils mountains in Idaho rise above the Snake River, making Hells Canyon the deepest gorge in the US. The view is one of those “million dollar” experiences.. If this were private property accessible by an easy road, a five star resort would be perched here, hosting hundreds of people a day.. Instead, amidst gorgeous wildflowers, skies and clouds, science and tranquility, Meg and I rested in these views and feelings alone.
I arose early Wednesday morning for the dawning light and returned to an area of colorful wildflowers. It was a cloudy morning, but the filtered sunlight intensified the colors. I was struck how these pockets of wildflowers could still thrive despite the drought conditions that had limited blossoming in other areas of the canyon. May each of us find our own micro climates to continue to grow in!
And, so after breakfast, we packed up and returned down to the river and out to the trailhead. Flowers may fade, but memories endure! And more adventures will Raz and Wallowa llamas await in this Hells Canyon Wilderness.
Hells Canyon Wilderness
The Spring Creek drainage in the Hells Canyon Wilderness
Monday, the first full day high on a bench above the Snake river, began with Raz, our outfitter, preparing Swedish pancakes for us. After breakfast, he led us north on a trail that crossed many of the small streams and ravines that make up the Spring Creek drainage. Although the wildflowers were not as thick and lush as last year, nonetheless we hiked through many pockets of intense color. After three miles we reached the far ridge of the Creek basin and enjoyed lunch looking over the vastness of canyon.
balsam root, Hells Canyon
Lupine and balsam root, Spring Creek drainage, Hells Canyon
Last year, on the last Sunday of April, Meg and I took a beautiful wildflower day hike in the Snake river canyon country, east of Halfway, Oregon. While on a a vast bench high above the river, we encountered a train of pack llamas and hikers. Raz Rasmussen, of Halfway, has operated Wallowa Llamas since 1983. We decided we would take this trip in 2015. We invited good friends, the Gleesons, to join us. And so, starting on the last Sunday of this April, we spent four days and three nights in this overwhelming, breath taking canyon country.
I am posting these pictures on a day to day basis, so there will be four parts. Here are the pictures from Sunday.
Our ponderosa pine campsite, below these balsam root wildflowers. Hells Canyon Wilderness
Hells Canyon Wilderness
Phlox along the Snake river before the trail begins to climb