This is a view overlooking Horseshoe Lake in Denali National Park. The lake sits on the East side of the park, near the Nenana River. There were beavers at work in the lake; we saw a couple of them swimming through the water with small tree branches. Not sure we would have even noticed if there had not been signs pointing out the beaver dam.
How often do we miss noticing the “little joys” in our lives?
This is a photo of Savage River, where we did our first hike in Denali. It was also the farthest (15 miles) you could drive a private vehicle into the park without a special permit (available through a lottery). We took the bus further into the park the next day. I recently heard that the road is now completely closed at mile 43 due to a landslide. This is not a new problem; it is actually a rock glacier which has been moving since the 1960’s. This summer, the rate of movement increased to 10 inches per day!
In the Gospel, we are told about the importance of building on solid ground. The parable is about a house, but it obviously applies to roads as well!
This photo was taken in June at Congaree National Park. If you look at the far edge of the water, you see that the water is a dark brown color. At first we assumed it was muddy, but when you approached the edge of the river you could see through the water very easily. We were told that the brown color was due to tannins from leaves and tree bark. It could be thought of as a River of tea!
Those around us have a profound effect upon us (and vice versa).
This is a photo taken at Congaree National Park in June. These are cypress tree knees; their exact function is not certain but it is thought they add stability to the tree in soft muddy soil. A sort of support system.
As a think about these trees, I can’t help but reflect on my support system. Friends and family that I know I can rely on. I pray that I provide similar support for others.
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life.
The New River is well known for whitewater rafting and kayaking. The Lower New River has a vertical drop of 250 feet in 16 miles, much of which occurs in a series of rapids. Those rapids are barely visible as whitewater in this photo taken about 1000 feet above the river. They are much more impressive up close, as seen and experienced on the water. The more challenging rapids (class III, IV and V) have detailed descriptions online including instructions on how to best navigate them.
Life has plenty of “rapids”. Fortunately, we also have instructions on how to navigate them.
It seems like when we go hiking and see falls, it has often been when it has been relatively dry and there is only a small amount of water flowing over the falls. Often the falls are still very impressive because of the height and surrounding terrain, but not the same experience as seeing them when the water is flowing full force over them. This is a photo of Kates Falls in the New River gorge in February after considerable rain. Definitely a good time to see them.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
This photo was taken in late April during a hike at the Arc of Appalachia. We had gone there to see the spring flowers in bloom. The colors were not only in the flowers; the trees and even the rock was colorful!
God’s gifts are “pressed down and running over” (Luke 6:38)
This photo was taken at the Sandstone Falls overlook (New River). I must admit I was a little disappointed. The falls looked more dramatic in the pictures I had seen so I was expecting something more dramatic. It’s likely the water was higher than usual due to the recent rain and maybe this had an effect on the appearance of the falls. On the other hand, I was thankful that it had stopped raining so that we could at least see the falls.
How often in our lives do we view something as a “mixed blessing”? I guess in every situation, it possible to see something good and/or something bad. At the same time, all blessings are blessings!
This photo was taken during our February trip to the New River National Park. We like taking a trip in February to celebrate our anniversary. In recent years, it has been a long weekend hiking. Unfortunately, travel in the Midwest during February leaves the potential for snow/ice. The day before this photo, we got rain, freezing rain, then snow at the end of our hike. This ice was from a winter storm days earlier, and made this section of trail somewhat treacherous – both the footing and the falling ice. We like to think of ourselves as adventurous but definitely not risk takers.
It is interesting how often in the Bible God calls individuals to be leaders when they do not think of themselves as adventurous or risk takers (or leaders).