Two summers ago I had the opportunity to go backpacking in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado with my summer camp. At camp, we got to choose three activities once we arrived. Almost my whole cabin wanted to go backpacking, so I figured I would go along for the ride.
We spent three days out in the mountains, and I have never seen anything like them before. We left camp at about six in the morning and drove for about 30 minutes to the beginning of the trail. We were all loaded down with pots, pans, two changes of clothes, ground mats, sleeping bags, dry frozen food, and, of course, trail mix.
Now this was not just any ordinary trail mix. I cannot explain my delight when the leader of our group handed me trail mix that not only had m and m's in it, but also mini gummy bears! I knew from that moment that it was going to be a good trip!
We set out on the trail, and my new friends and I were so excited! We would walk for about thirty minutes and then inevitably someone would want to stop and take a picture with our gorgeous surroundings. I guess that is what you get with a group of ten girls.
Everywhere I looked there were bright yellow wild flowers, beautiful trees, and an endless trail through the grass that swayed in the breeze. But with this breeze came clouds. With the clouds came darker clouds. And with the darker clouds came vast amounts of rain.
I was a little disappointed about the weather, but my friends and I decided to make the most of it. One of my friends actually stepped ankle deep into a huge pile of mud. She started screaming so all of us started screaming, causing our guide and two park rangers to come sprinting towards us. They all thought we were being attacked by a bear.
Later that afternoon we finally made it to our camp site. We set up our tents and tried our best to start a fire with wet wood and rain coming in unpredictable showers. Our camp was up on a hill overlooking a breathtaking view of a little valley.
The next morning we woke up and ate breakfast. After having a heated discussion with my guide, I learned that oatmeal bags that appear to be simply paper do in fact have the ability to hold hot water. With this new knowledge, we set out on a day hike with out our packs just to explore a little bit. We hiked for about three hours, playing fun word games and learning new stuff about each other.
At one point we reached an incredible incline, and I had no idea how I was going to get up it. Our guide told us that the only way to make it to the top was to keep on moving. So that is what I did. As soon as I reached the top, I just kept walking until I reached the edge of the mountain we had been climbing. We were at 13,003 feet in elevation overlooking a huge lake.
It was at that moment that I realized how insignificant I am. I have never felt that small in my life. Not only did I realize how small I am, but I also realized how big the world is. I realized how much of it I have not seen. And it was in that moment that a desire was kindled in me to learn more about this huge world that we live in.
The next day we packed up our camp site and headed back to our vans. On the way down, my guide started getting a little frustrated with me because I kept asking so many questions. How big is this park? What kind of flower is that? Can I have some more trail mix? How far does this trail go? Where else have you backpacked? Needless to say, I was put on question probation half way through our hike back.
But the feeling that the view from the summit of that mountain gave me stuck with me long after I was done grilling our guide for information. It is that feeling of insignificance that opened my eyes to the grandeur of God's creation.