1,000 Footprints

Rocks slick with moss and clay formed the stairs that welcomed our initial assent. These gave way to a mountain meadow of flowers, sweeping vistas and breezes. The path climbed a short hill and diverged, presenting us with two options, neither of which looked easy. This is when I first questioned the brochure that labeled the hike to the Lost Waterfalls, “Moderate.”

Our chosen path plunged into the misty green mountain canopy. Rapidly the elevation rose, and the path became a staircase of tall steps among the jagged rocks and twisted roots of the forest. Ascending or descending, muscles, balance and flexibility seemed stretched to the limit. Handholds were few and precarious. At the point of my first exhaustion, we reached an incline so steep that knotted ropes hung next to the trail. I guess “moderate” is a highly subjective term. Then, I watched my friend Jim make the climb. He is ten years my senior and his ability to grapple up the slope engaged one of the most dominant muscles in the male physic. It’s known as the Anterior Ihcdisci or “If he can do it, so can I.”

My second wave of exhaustion came after viewing two beautiful falls. The suggested hike route takes you past Fall #1 to falls two and three. The route organizers were wise in this plan. The path down to the Fall One is steep and treacherous. It’s the closest to the trail head but going there first would weed out weaker hikers. When you arrive there last, you are trail proven. Having mastered the hike to that point you would be much more likely to size up the challenge and think … “I can do this.” Still, I wasn’t so sure I could. My left knee was aching, and an ingrown toenail was making it feel like I had a razor blade in my shoe. There was one reoccurring thought that carried me through … “1,000 footprints.” The muddy path, up and down, was a living record of all the people that made the trek before me. Deep, heavy footed prints, small light treads, imprints flanked by the aid of walking sticks told me that people of all shapes, sizes and abilities had endured and conquered. So did I … and that last spectacular vista was worth all the pain.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1–3

Keep following Jesus my friend … that last view will be worth it all!