This hike was brutal. I mean it's not that far, but you have to find your way through so many thorns, brush, and stickers. The area had recently been burned in an attempt to clear some of the underbrush. The smoke was still lingering and the thorns still remained. There is no trail at all in sight and it looks like the thorny terrain is unending. The payoff though...The most beautiful wild canyon and pristine waterfall. It's my personal favorite. I've been here 3 times and have never been disappointed. The day started out with over an hour drive in the rain to meet friends. We drove through rain to get to where we park and there was still a drizzle as we set out through the briars. But this...it was worth every bit of the thorns.
As I sat at home editing photos from the day and reflecting, I realized I didn't get a single photo of what all we traveled through to reach this beautiful destination. I sent my friend Amanda (she led this little expedition) a text asking if she took any photos of the journey. She took a video and a few photos (shown above). Of course she took photos. She's hiked off trail for years. Me however...last year with Amanda and a few others would have been the first time I'd ever wandered into the woods with no trail, no map, totally reliant on people I met on the internet to take me on an adventure and get me safely back to the car. We still tell stories of my first off trail adventure. So while I now have a few off trail hikes under my belt I still get nervous at the overwhelming nothingness of thorns, brush, and briars we enter into to get to these beautiful destinations. I don't always document the entire journey, but eventually I'm going to learn how to navigate through it all and maybe take a few photos along the way.
My thoughts turned to my own personal life and then to life in general...the struggles and moments when we can't seem to find our way. The moments we don't document. The ones where it's all we can do to put one foot in front of the other. In those moments, I pray you can look up and find someone who is comfortable and confident enough to help show you the way to something incredibly beautiful. I also pray that once you've experienced the incredible beauty they can also help you look back and see just how far you've come and the terrain you were able to cross.
I was reminded in a very real way of the Lord's love, protection, and provision. How he takes us through the unknown, dark, and sometimes even painful places but He knows just what's on the other side. He knows the beauty we will encounter if we continue to follow. He knows the destination of the journey through the wilderness. We just have to trust Him. One of my favorite scripture reminders that I've shared before from Deuteronomy 31:8 - "He goes before us". Here's to trusting Him one step at a time. Here's to this wild adventure we call life.