70 miles in 8 days of trekking. From an altitude of 4,265 Ft to 17,769 ft. From temps in the 80s to the 20s. One of the things that captured my attention and my heart was how much the environment could change in such a short time.
I occupied my mind during the first day by counting waterfalls. The rainy season is just ending here so the abundance of rainfall created dozens of waterfalls of all sizes along our trail the first couple days. I stopped counting after 16 the first half of day one. We even had to walk through some streams, landslides, and rain.
After a couple days though, the terrain started to change and the rain stopped. One day we walked through a forest spread with pine trees, saw apple farms, and then traversed across a dry “Wild West” kind of valley against some strong wind. The crazy thing to me was that we could be in such an arid climate with sparse vegetation, dry and not appealing to the eye, and also have such an incredible view of white peaked mountains. We were getting closer to the mountains, yet our surroundings seemed to get less and less beautiful.
However, after a couple days in the dry arid climate, we experienced another change overnight. Literally. It snowed in the village while we slept. We woke up to some ice and frost covering the ground. The white peaks, now not so far away, seemed to grow as the snow stretched down closer to us. Breathing got harder as the air became thinner and we continued to climb. When we stopped we would put all our layers on, but when we started we had to peel them all back off.
We made it to High Camp just in time before the snow started. We hung out for hours in the dining hall trying to keep our bodies from shivering too much before retreating to our bunks as the blizzard snow whitened the windows.
We “woke up” at 3:30 am on the day of our last hike. I don’t know if you can call it waking up when you barely slept. We were all anxiously anticipating what could be a 12 hour day of trekking. Our day started under the giant stars, stepping carefully along the mountain in the dark. Gradually the silhouettes of mountains appeared around us until the light of the rising sun bounced off of the peaks. As we slowly trudged along, the dust of snow became thicker and thicker.
A few hours later we reached our goal, Tharong La pass. I felt so much gratitude as I stood higher then I had ever been, hugged between two beautiful mountains. My Father had gifted me with such a marvelous destination, but He had also gifted me with the journey.
He had been with me in every climate, in the valleys, the hills, and the mountain tops. He had been in the moments of awe and wonder, and the moments of pain and weariness. My deep breaths of fresh air were full of praise, and my shallow desperate breaths were full of praise too. When the mountains were hidden they were still there. When our surroundings didn’t match the destination, it was still before us. Just like they remained constant, so does He.
In my life I feel like I just conquered a mountain too. I look back and feel overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God to bring me here: through every trial, frustration, and temptation, with all the grace, joy, and strength. In the ups and downs He was there. When I doubted, He was working. And even though I still stand shakily and I still have many mountains to climb, He’s proved His goodness to me in bringing me this far.
I share this whole story to encourage you, as He encouraged me, that no matter what season you’re in, He’s with you, and it can all change in a moment. You may be in a desert but you won’t be there forever. Your view of the promise may be clouded or distant, but you’ll glimpse it again soon, and you may be closer to walking in it than you think.
“But he also can turn a barren wilderness into an oasis with water! He can make springs flow into desert lands and turn them into fertile valleys so that cities spring up, and he gives it all to those who are hungry.”
Psalms 107:35-36 TPT
No matter what season you’re in, stay hungry. Stay full of joy. See the beauty. He is with you and He is working on your behalf.