Mount Angeles Trail at Night

Morris Creek Basin and Elk Mountain

Morris Creek Basin and Elk Mountain

Posted by David

Last night a friend and I took a walk up to the bridge crossing at Ennis Creek along the Mount Angeles Trail.  There was still snow around from the heavy winter snowfalls. The trail goes through some second growth Douglas-fir forest, which made it fairly dark, especially without a moon.

The city lights were reflecting on some high clouds, so the snow was bright enough that we didn’t need to use our headlamp. It’s always enjoyable to walk at night without a light, and not particularly for the challenge. Walking lampless transforms most places giving them a new feel. Even though I had walked that particular stretch of trail many times, it all seemed like I had never been there before. The patchy snow, the muffled sound of Ennis Creek, and the almost-glowing tops of the trees gave the forest a quality like that of a dream—a good dream.

On the way up the trail, I followed Bryan. On the way down, Bryan followed me. We made a few observations that I would like to share with you.

The first had to do with walking in the dark. Just a few steps in front of us the trail was obscured by the dark shadows of the trees. With or without eyeglasses, the blurry trail seemed to fold into the darkness. What was remarkable, was that even though the trail lay hidden right in front of us, it was usually clear where our next step was. We could feel and perceive the next step fairly easily. How similar is our walk through time and space! The only really clear step is the next step and that’s the one we should be focusing on. Sometimes we try to have broader, grander ambitions, but oddly enough, those goals take our eyes off of the next step, which is what is most important. Focusing on what God has laid out for us today, it seems, is most important.

Another thing that Bryan noticed had to do with the Saints and their reflected light. The relected skylight on the patchy snow helped us navigate the trail. Where there was no snow, the forest floor was almost black. Where it blanked the forest all around, it made the whole forest glow. The Saints, present and past, do this for us. Their faith helps us make our way through the darkness. They reflect Christ’s light and help us focus our steps.

Lastly, the most important observation had to do with the trail itself. We would have been stumbling over limbs and rocks and running up into 4 ft-diameter fallen trees if it wasn’t for the trail. Without the trail, we would have never made it to the Ennis Creek crossing. Jesus has blazed our trail as Christians. Without his trail to the cross, we’d be lost, without direction meandering waywardly in space and time.

Oh, one more thing. Having brothers and sisters in Christ with us is essential. Bryan and I would have never made the hike without each other. Not that we couldn’t have, but we probably wouldn’t have. Our will and our faith is bolstered by each other. Make no mistake, there are times when we will be alone, but when we have our brothers and sisters, we must make room for them in our lives.

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