It was a spontaneous decision…an email from a friend, subject heading, “It’s not about the hike, it’s about the journey.” She was proposing an 8 km overnight hike to Seely Beach along the Fundy Footpath and her subject heading couldn’t have been more appropriate.
Any section of the 41 km long wilderness Fundy Footpath is a formidable hike. Those who complete the grueling 4-day journey must contend with extreme high tides and will traverse a total of almost 20,000 feet of elevation as the footpath follows the rockiest, steepest section of the Bay of Fundy coast. It is neither for the beginner, nor for the unprepared. My companions had all done the full hike before. I had done only sections.
We would be hiking one of the easier stretches, but it was still not an easy meander. Temperatures would be +30C and muggy. Could I do it with a 30lb pack? I hadn’t done any serious hiking for over two years and had not backpacked for ten. My companions were considerably younger and definitely more fit. I knew I would slow them down. I had a dozen reasons not to attempt it, but I felt I needed a challenge. And a chance for an overnight on the coast was too enticing to pass up.
It didn’t start well. My pack was uncomfortable and kept shifting me off balance. I felt unsteady on my feet…my body not used to the extra weight or the climbing.
But gratitude often goes like this…
181. The privilege of living so close to a magnificent wilderness coastline and being able to appreciate it with remarkable and inspirational friends…old and new.
182. The humility needed to admit my weakness and limitations. Pride is a hard contender to defeat.
183. The grace to accept help…a true friend is one who lightens your load when you grow weary, who lifts your spirit when it sags, and encourages you to continue. I am so blessed to have true friends.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28
184. The unexpected charity of strangers. Brownies? Really?? In a pan?? On a wilderness hike?
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matt 25:35
185. Pause. Peace. Pleasure. Spending the night wrapped in the midst of God’s wondrous creation…
186. Fine conversations and s’mores by the campfire.
187. Nature’s wonder…a roiling wave of cloud passing overhead – an advancing cold front, pushing our heat wave south.
188. A magical balmy night listening to the surf and watching fireflies dance like stars upon the water.
189. Awakening at 5AM to see the sun crawl over the eastern headland.
190. The quiet confidence that comes from pushing beyond my limits and the blessing of friends to share the journey.
A weekend in the presence of God. A tide that demands we pay attention to it. Things that don’t come too easily. A friend who sacrifices her own comfort for mine, who lightens my load. A young woman who lives a full, appreciative life of respect and who smiles brightly and walks gently in her world. A guy who simply loves to get sweaty, saw logs, go dirty and pee in the woods.
It’s not really about the hike at all, is it?