"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you."

Isaiah 60:1

Sunday, July 24, 2011

my hiking anxiety

This past Thursday Rollin and I hiked my DREAM hike. One of the most beautiful lakes and popular lakes to hike to in the park is Mills Lake. What makes this lake so beautiful is the backdrop of this lake is the backside of Long's Peak, Pagoda, Chief's Head, and McHenry's. If you look at the picture you will see what I mean! And if you look closely, you can see that those mountains sit upon a shelf above treeline.

On that shelf are several hidden lakes: Blue Lake, Green Lake (with Italy Lake just behind it), and Frozen Lake. Also on a separate little shelf in that gorge is Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. Shelf and Solitude lakes are not as far back as the former lakes mentioned. Ever since I climbed Long's Peak and looked through the Keyhole down into this gorge seeing all of these little lakes, it has been my dream to find them!

Looking down on the gorge from the Keyhole

View of the shelf from Shelf Lake

Last summer of 2010 Rollin and I found Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. They were so beautiful!!

Shelf Lake

Solitude Lake

So this summer, we wanted to find the rest. The way to find these lakes is to hike to Mills Lake and then continue on for 2.2 miles to Black Lake. Once reaching Black you are at the foot of this shelf. The Shelf pretty much encircles Black Lake, except for on the left side (east side) there is a valley in which a waterfall flows. You can follow a trail and climb up this valley to get onto the shelf, which we did. Once we got up onto the shelf I was blown away. The shelf was huge, everything was farther away than it seemed.

Getting above Black Lake

The shelf

Things are farther than they seem

Our first destination was Blue Lake. It took us quite a while to find Blue Lake...things were farther than it seemed. Finally we found Blue Lake. We stayed a few minutes and then set off for Green Lake.

Blue Lake

Leaving Blue Lake and headed for Green Lake which is on a shelf to the left of the Spearhead (large rock formation in the center of the picture)

At this point I was feeling discouraged. The shelf was huge, I didn't know if I had the mental and physical strength to climb to the rest of them. The distance between Green Lake and Blue Lake was at least a mile, and the terrain was very difficult to hike through which made it take a long time to get to Green Lake. By the time we made it to Green Lake (and Italy Lake) it was almost 11AM. For some reason I started to get anxious. As much as I LOVE hiking in unknown territory that few people explore, it also TERRIFIES ME! You're completely isolated here. Something about that scares me so much. So as much as I wanted to find these lakes and explore up here, the intensity was almost more than I could bear. I was also anxious about going back down to Black Lake. Since it took a long time to get up and around back here, I knew it would take a while to get down, which made me very anxious.

Green Lake

At Green Lake I had a little bit of a cry-fest. Rollin was so good to me and caring. Rollin keeps me going. He gently nudged me on toward Frozen Lake. Without him, I would have turned back at this point. We set off for Frozen Lake, it was a bit of a climb. Every 5 minutes until we reached Frozen Lake I was saying "I want to go down now." But we made it to Frozen Lake, unfortunately I was feeling quite anxious and had trouble really enjoying the lake. But I did it! With Rollin's help and encouragement we found all of those lakes!

Frozen Lake Looking north toward the Mummy Range!

Then we started heading down. Again, the terrain was pretty difficult and made it slower going down since there was no trail. But finally we saw cairns and followed them and found a TRAIL!!!! All my anxiety left. How ironic. It's the lack of a trail that made me so anxious, yet I love exploring territory that is not climbed very often. We followed the trail down to Black Lake and I was fine.

Heading down...

Found the trail!

Phew. But wait. I'm still anxious. Long's Peak. July 31st. A Sunday. My dad wants to climb Long's Peak, or at least make it to the top of the trough. If he makes it that far, I'm pulling him up the rest of the way. Rollin's never climbed Long's Peak. I want both of them to summit. But Long's Peak terrifies me!!! It's quite ironic, because I've climbed Long's 3 times without any difficulty, one time I even made it to the summit BY MYSELF! For some reason, I'm scared. I'm scared of falling. I know there's a 1 in 20,000 chance of falling and dying. But for some reason I'm anxious about it.

The summit of Long's Peak

When I was talking to the Lord about this I heard him saying "Rachel, have you forgotten that I AM? Have you forgotten that I am the LORD and there is no other." He's right. I have to trust him. This climb to Long's Peak is much more than a mental or physical journey, but even a spiritual journey of trusting the Lord. If He wills, we will make it. And He will protect us!

My first summit on Long's Peak in 2007

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

summer's going downhill

It's already July 20th! Ah! I'm not ready for the summer to end. It's gone by so quickly. I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to teaching. Here's what the summer's been full of for us so far...

June 5th--Celebrated our 1st Anniversary spending a few days in Austin, TX

June 18th--Visited friends and family in Illinois and had an Ahrens Family Reunion!!

June 25th--Wedding in Columbia!

June 30th--Hiked to MacGregor Falls

July 2nd--We hiked into Moraine Park.

July 4th--We had to work but participated in the YMCA's 4th of July Parade as the Housekeeping Bride and Groom!

July 6th--Hiked Sky Pond. First hike of the summer!

July 5th--We had some Texan girls visiting and had a blast sight seeing with them!

July 7th--We went into town to celebrate my birthday and took some cute pictures!

July 8th--While Colleen was visiting for the week we hiked to Gem Lake. It's only 1.7 miles but we made it a super fun hike!!

July 9th--Then Ben came and visited us. We took him up Trail Ridge Road!

July 13th--Rollin and I hiked to Sandbeach Lake, it was really cool! And that's Meeker in the background!

July 14th--We conquered Spraque Mountain! It was a 17 mile roundtrip hike and over 11 of those miles were above treeline in exposed tundra. It was a huge accomplishment for me!

July 19th--Rollin and I got in our car around 6 in the morning to go hiking to find that our car wouldn't start! At that early in the morning we really couldn't do anything about it so we hiked Eagle Cliff. We had a good time :) And it turned out that our car just needed a new battery!

Friday, July 15, 2011

"feel My love"

The other day I was sitting on the porch of the admin journaling to the Lord and just writing about how I was feeling. I started writing out all of my fears and anxieties and I realized how much my fears and anxieties have been keeping me in bondage. I have not been free in the love of Jesus. I have been worried.

Then later that evening we were at the LT service singing "How He Loves" and during that song the Lord just spoke to me saying, "You forgot that I love you." Wow. It's so easy to be afraid and anxious when I am not resting in the love of Jesus.

I attached a picture of the sunrise from our hike to Sprague Mountain yesterday. The sun, especially sunrises and sunsets, is the Lord's reminder to me of His love. The reason for that is about three years ago when I was undergoing a huge heart transformation I was at my church's Fall Retreat (2008). The Fall Retreat was a milestone of healing in my heart from a lot of self-worth issues I struggled with...especially that Saturday evening. Sunday morning I woke up early not able to sleep and so I went for a woke. The first thing I saw when I left my cabin was the sunrise...and I felt the Lord say "Feel my love, Rachel." Whenever I see a sunrise or sunset, I am reminded of that phrase He spoke to my heart.