Monday, July 7, 2014

Camping - part 4 Firetower trail

Ahhh...Firetower trail.

This particular trail sticks in my memory more than the others, because several years ago when My sister, I and our friend first hiked up it, we mistakenly read the map and thought the 3 1/2 mile trail looped back to where it started...long story short, it didn't, so our 3 1/2 hike turned into a 7 mile hike that took us almost 5 hours! To make matters worse, we had started in the afternoon, so we had to hurry along to get back before it started getting dark. (It wasn't really that late, but when you're tired, hot, hungry, and have been walking for 2 1/2 hrs; everything seems worse and more uncertain than it really is)
 Suffice to say, when we finally made it out of the woods, I was sure I never wanted to go on that trail ever again! And yet, years later, it is now our favorite trail, the one that we must hike up, even if we don't get to the other trails.

A lot of life is like that too, often when you try something for the first time and make a mistake, your first impulse is to hate the thing and never have anything to do with it again! But- when you take the time to learn more about the thing and understand it better, you actually start to like the thing. Knowledge really IS power..and it's no surprise then that God tells us:
 "Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold." &
 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is insight."

We need to not only seek knowledge and wisdom (and seek it like we would silver) but we also need to seek it from The Source, God himself.

(Proverbs 8:10 and 9:10)

The Firetower is located on the relatively flat top of one of the Ozark mountains, so the first part of the trail is quite steep, with some switchbacks thrown in here and there to make it a little easier to climb.

Most of the time the woods were so thick we couldn't see anything but more trees beyond them, but in a few places the trees thinned a little and we could see across to the other mountains . . .

 Once we got to the top though; the rest was shady path, after shady path, after delightful shady path.

The trees are quite tall, and their intertwining branches usually met overhead, which made me feel like I was walking through a woody tunnel, the kind you read about in books. And while I enjoyed the leafy tunnel very much, the forest was so quiet in some parts, that it almost got spooky, and I welcomed the spots where the trees were less tightly packed together, where the sunlight spilled freely down on the path . . .

Now for the Firetower itself:

Reaaaaaaaally tall, but still not as tall as the surrounding trees. Incidentally, back when it was built, you could actually see for miles around, and, undoubtedly see if there was a fire anywhere. But now? Good luck finding the sky!

Going up is pretty easy, as you're looking up the stairs; but going down?

It looks like this . . . you can see down to the ground every. step. of. the. way.

Luckily, I've climbed trees all my life and am used to looking down from great heights. But still- I must admit that even I got a little tipsy going down, and I had to make the conscious effort look away from my feet and turn my eyes to the trees and whatever else is at eye level. Because I couldn't trust my eyes. They led me astray when I looked down, telling me I might fall.
 My feet, on the other hand, told a different story- they told me there was definitely something solid under my feet. I only had to trust them.
 It's the same as when we take our eyes off Jesus during our walk through this world. We look down, see so many things we can't control and suddenly feel like we're going to fall. Like when Peter walked on the water out to Jesus; as long as he had his eyes on Jesus, he was fine, but when he looked away for just a second, he started to sink.
As  2 Corinthians 5:7 says "For we walk by Faith, not by sight"

These pictures are from the very top of the tower . . . not a whole lot different from being up in a tree actually. ;)

One of my favorite shady paths . . . <3

Well, hope you enjoyed this post, I had a few more reflections on life than I usually do. ;)
I have one last post with pictures from camping, and then I'll share some snapshots of summer where I live. =)

Through His Grace,


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