Mountain of God
Sometimes I think of where it is I’ve come from,
And the things I’ve left behind.
Well, of all I’ve had,
what I possess,
nothing can quite compare,
with what’s in front of me.
Even though the journey’s long,
and I know the road is hard,
well, the one who’s gone before me,
He will help me carry on.
And after all that I’ve been through,
now I realize the truth
that I must go through the valley,
to stand upon the mountain. . .
By Mac Powell, et al
Carolyn’s alarm shakes me and wakes me at 4:45 from a deep sleep. All of two and a half hours. I shower and rouse Jordyn from her slumber. We are on a mission. Carolyn has packed our bags and she is literally pushing us out the door. She has become “Sargent Carter” to our “Gomer Pyle” like characters.
Jordyn and I are still on a spiritual high from the Third Day concert just mere hours ago. We are on a road trip to Flagstaff attempting to check off a bucket list item by ascending to the top of Mt. Humphreys, the highest mountain in Arizona. We can do this. Carolyn was unable to attend the concert and she knows this is quite possibly our only opportunity to reach the top if we can get an early start. I don’t think many from outside of Arizona realize that we actually have mountains. This one just happens to stand 12,633 feet reaching to the heavens.
We pile in to our RX300 and hit the road with Third Day on our old school 6-cd changer that lives in the glove box but this stock stereo is the best I’ve ever had so it is like concert night all over again. We start off the trip with Spirit by Third Day. It is an incredible start to the trip. I am giddy from lack of sleep and just having left the concert experience of a lifetime. We head off to Flagstaff with Carolyn driving and me and Jordyn reliving our night. We play Lead Us Back over and over as we head to our mountain. I am lost in the Spirit, and can’t explain myself. I’m supposed to be resting but I’m singing, raising my hands, praising the Lord, and we haven’t even got to Pine and I’m already blessed. Jordyn and I badger Carolyn with details of our concert experience and she just wants us to shut up and go to sleep so she can listen to the music.
As we arrive in Flagstaff, thankfully Carolyn wants to stop at Chick-fil-a and Jordyn and I hit up Dunkin’ Donuts. We get our veggie wraps and some strong dark roasted coffee to make up for lack of sleep. I’m telling you, we are still loaded spiritually and ain’t nothing going to stop us. Carolyn gets her iced coffee and maybe Chick-fil-a has the best of all fast food restaurants iced coffee. Check out this review and you will be a believer. Rankings of Best Fast Food Iced Coffee Oh yeah, she also gets her chicken on with some biscuit and chicken sandwich. It’s 7:30 in the morning we can eat whatever we want.
Back on the road we head to the Snow Bowl area to park and embark on our journey. I’m staring at the Mountain, and Mac Powell is in my head. I am going to have to go through the valley to get to stand up on the mountain some 4.5+ miles from where I’m standing. I had told David Carr and Mark Lee this is what I had to look forward to after the concert. Their comments are like “seriously, really?” They must believe that we have lost our minds to get little sleep and ascend 3,300+ feet up over 4.5+ miles to reach a summit of 12,633 ft.
It is a beautiful morning and our “Sargent” Carolyn has filled our packs with water and all kinds of eats. (I discover that my pack even has a lb of sausage in it) Carolyn isn’t going to let us starve. I tell her that I didn’t know we were going to be out for a week. Of course she is hiking with me so preparation is critical. It is no surprise that every time we go hiking, I gain about 4 lbs.
I look up in awe of what I’m about to attempt. Sometimes I think of where it is I’ve come from And the things I’ve left behind But of all I’ve had, what I possessed Nothing can quite compare With what’s in front of me The lyrics are going through my head. I can do this.
We get on the trail around 8:00 and pass many hikers on the way to the summit. We get to the inner basin and I’m thinking that it can’t be much more and then the real climb begins. Even though the journey’s long, and I know the road is hard, well, the one who’s gone before me, He will help me carry on. The trail is much steeper and rougher. Up and up we go and we arrive around 11:00. On the way up we pass Craig and Mary McMullen, fellow Paysonites, on their way down. We have climbed over rocks, ascended two false peaks and finally the last part is straight up. But it is absolutely worth the effort. The views are spectacular even with the dirty air across AZ. There are flying bugs everywhere. I have yet to figure out why there are so many bugs at 12,600+ feet.
I am a bit delirious as the oxygen has thinned out but I believe that I’m figuratively standing on the Mountain of God. The song is rolling through my head. And after all that I’ve been through, now I realize the truth that I must go through the valley, to stand upon the mountain. .
We take pictures and I want to rest but Carolyn sees clouds starting to congregate and she is not about to let us get caught in a thunderstorm so she gets us going back down the mountain after about 20 minutes. Going down is much worse on me then going up. We are the ones who get passed as I am slowing us down. We hear thunder in the distance but it seems to be staying in the distance. Both Jordyn and I have slippage issues (you know like slip and fall down stuff) and I end up with multiple pains. My hip is really on fire from the pounding going down and I twist an ankle which hurts my left leg and I’m pained and still have a long ways to go. I struggle on down and the rain comes but no thunderstorm. I’m just about as beat up as I can be but I am exhilarated as we roll on down to the beginning. I have done this. As I travel on the road That You have lead me down You are here with me Yes, You are here with me I have need for nothing more Oh, now that I have found That You are here with me
Carolyn has got us up the mountain and down the mountain. Our leader has helped us overcome each and every obstacle, made sure that we ate and drank, and kept us on task–meaning me. That ADD side of me sometimes gets in the way but I must admit Carolyn always gets me to refocus with what’s in front of me.
I am literally exhausted, thrilled, drained, excited, but the adrenaline is wearing me down. Time to recharge. Downtown Flagstaff we go and grab burgers at the Flagstaff Brewing Company. The food menu Great patio where we just relax, all dirty, hair matted, and probably smelly as well. You know what? We fit in perfectly. After the burgers, we head on over to Historic Brewing Co because I am determined to find Undercover Cucumber. The seasonal collection And I do! The weather is fabulous and we sit out on the patio and relive what we just did. I love Flagstaff this time of year. But we have to head home.
As we started our day in Flagstaff, we end our day in Flagstaff by heading to Dunkin’ Donuts and Chick-fil-A on our way out of town. This time though Carolyn goes to Dunkin’ and me to Chick-fil-A. Yup coffee and free fries with coupon I have. Got to save a buck when you can and I sure didn’t want to waste a coupon.
Back in the car, I’m drifting off with Third Day back on the stereo, Carolyn at the wheel, and Jordyn sending up zzz’s. Another Family First Adventure. It really has reinforced that no matter what, Faith and Family are most important. I am so appreciative that Jordyn is into the outdoors. Not raised on Xbox but her mama and I have built an appreciation of the outdoors in her. No Nature Deficit Disorder for my girl. If you don’t know how the lack of outdoors activities impacts kids, just google it. It may shock you into getting your kid outside. Outdoors is where it is and I can’t wait for our next adventure.
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. Martin Luther King Jr.
I have come through the valley and have stood on the mountain of God. I am a blessed man.
My inspirational song for your listening pleasure.