We [Nick and Jack] just returned from a few days of backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail [SHT]. It was great to be together, get exercise, get away from all the modern day distractions and enjoy God's creation. This was Jack's first time backpacking and he definitely reminded his dad who is the one in shape. I don't think I saw him breathing hard once while I was doubled over trying to catch my breath and not pass out.
Our time on the trail was filled with processing life, talking about concerns and joys as well as being continually amazed with God's creation. There was plenty of time for silence and meditation as well.
Here is a quick recap of the trip.
Sunday: Set up campsite next to Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore. Drive north to our destination location near Illgen City and leave our car in the SHT parking lot. Hop on two beater bikes that we wouldn’t worry if they were stolen and venture south on Highway 61 for an hour and a half back to our campsite - by the way "beater bikes" means they don't work well at all. We visit a bit at the campfire and hit the hay.
Monday: Up at Sunrise and greet the thick fog coming off Lake Superior as we eat our oatmeal. Hit the trail for about 10 miles of up and down and all around. Lunch is peanut butter and jelly on really thin bread. Keep rolling and set up camp just off the Beaver River - it was a beautiful site. Dinner tasted far better than freeze dried food should but that is part of the mystery of backpacking. We are in our tents before the sun sets.
Tuesday: More oatmeal and coffee for breakfast with the sunrise. Take down camp and hit the trail. Tough HOT day for the old guy as I lag behind with all the inclines on this section of the trail. Jack takes on the whole thing like it is a walk in the park. The day is filled with fantastic views, lots of sweat and a discussion about proper calculation of trail miles - Jack was right and I was wrong. We set up camp at Palisade Creek with Jack making the water journey twice to bring our water for drinking and preparing dinner. Great evening of talking about ministry, family and theology. We hit the hay at 8PM - late night!
Wednesday: Up with the sun, getting things in order when Jack says, "Did you hear that thunder?" I did hear it which makes no sense because the weather forecasters made it very clear to me that there would be no rain during our little backpacking adventure. The sprinkles had turned into a downpour by 7:30 AM as we were leaving camp. For the next 3 1/2 hours we hiked in lightning, thunder and a pouring rain. The trail looked more like a stream than a trail as we traversed six slippery miles to reach our car at 11:00 AM. We were both drenched and due to my ill advised confidence in the weather forecasters our backpacks were completely soaked as well. You see, I want to trim as much weight from my pack as I can so with only sun in the foreseeable future I left our backpack rain covers at home. Let's just say that when sleeping bags get wet they become heavier. Our car was a happy sight at this point as we were able to begin the drying process.
We had a great time on the trail sharing life. We decided backpacking is a lot like life really.
* Climbing the ascents is exhausting as it stretches us and forms our muscles but the views at the summits are spectacular.
* The level trail sections provide a nice time for thinking, talking and basically just moving along together toward the destination.
* Descents are really hard on your thighs and feet but in the valleys is where we are able to find our sources of water.
The point is that God wants us to find Him, His provision and the joy of His family all through our lives. He is able to bless us no matter what the terrain of our lives. He is more than able and He never fails!
He leads us in paths... [Psalm 23]
Pastor Nick and Jack
Pastor Nick Mundis