8-18-17 – 8-21-17
For the last three years my brothers and I have gone into the high peaks of the Adirondacks with some of my sons for some hiking, some family bonding, and some general good, not so clean, fun. For our fourth annual trip we were in the Dix wilderness (remember from trip #3). The cast of characters for this trip include:
Ghost Snotrocket (my older brother)
Troubadour (my younger brother)
Guido Bellodecci (a son)
Babyback Ribs (another son)
Fidget (yet another son)
Day 1 – Tentropolis
The last time I was here with StillWaters there was only one other group in the entire wilderness and we each took our own lean-tos and mostly kept to ourselves. This time was very different. We stayed near the Slide Brook lean-to, which already had a couple of people in it. Troubadour and the boys were ahead of me and found a wonderful tent site. It was here that we would call “home” for the next four days.
As the day drew on more an more people arrived, and well into the night. All round you could see the flashlights and headlamps of people trying to find a good tent site, like fireflies organized to march, grumble, and search. By the morning there were at least 15 tents and most likely more. Hence I named the area, “Tentropolis.”
Day 2 – Macomb, Carson (South Dix), Grace (East Dix), and Hough
By now a 5:30am wake-up was not difficult for me at all and we all were up for an early breakfast. Ghost had not yet joined us, but predicted that he would arrive around 7am. By 7:30am he had not yet arrived and we decided to go ahead with our hike and leave him a note.
Macomb was a delightful mountain with an amazing rock slide to walk up with some spectacular views of Elk Lake.
At the top, Fidget could not keep from getting into my summit picture.
The prayer at the summit of Macomb was my last one from Howard Thurman. I particularly enjoyed the rhythm of the prayer:
Lord, open unto me. Open unto me – light for my darkness. Open unto me – courage for my fear. Open unto me – hope for my despair. Open unto me – peace for my turmoil. Open unto me – joy for my sorrow. Open unto me – strength for my weakness. Open unto me – wisdom for my confession. Open unto me – forgiveness for my sins. Open unto me – love for my hates. Open unto me – they self for my self. Lord, Lord, upon unto me! Amen
With our summit of Macomb we were now on the ridge of the Dix range and knew the hike from Macomb to Carson should not be too difficult. It should be said that there is no such thing as an easy hike in the Adirondacks (it is all relative) and there was some descending and then some ascending before getting to the summit of Carson, with some great places to stop and take in the views.
I have to say that Carson did not have that great of a peak. It was a tree with the old name of the mountain (South Dix) carved into it. But is was the summit and I found that it was a great tree for hugging.
Right next to the tree I sat with my first prayer from Augustine:
Lord, how great is your patience. You are full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy, and true! You make your sun rise on the good and on the wicked alike; you send rain on the just and the unjust alike. You do not desire the death of sinners; you would rather that they turn from wickedness and truly live. By your patience you lead us to repentance.
All summer I have been in the midst of almost every kind of weather. It was during my last trip to the Dix range that I embraced the revelation that the rain is not out to get me, but just happens. In this beautiful weather I also needed to realize that it is not sunny because of anything I did, but was just the weather that was going to happen. The sun and the rain falls on all.
From Carson we headed to Grace Mountain with was a beautiful peak. I spent some time gazing, reflecting, and then almost falling. It was Guido who was taking the pictures and doing nothing to catch me. Some son.
We had lunch, and then I took some time to pray again with Augustine:
You awake us to delight in your praises; for you made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it reposes in you.
This is one of the tightest theological statements that I have encountered, “our heart is restless…” and speaks so much. I could have spent the whole summer just with that statement.
We have climbed three mountains, had lunch, and still no sign of Ghost.
For our last mountain we decided to leave our packs at a junction spot and then try to quickly climb Hough (pronounced “huff”). It was pretty steep.
And did not have a remarkable summit.
The prayer continued with Augustine:
Blessed are all your saints, O God and King, who have traveled over the tempestuous sea of this life and have made the harbor of peace and felicity. Watch over us who are still on our dangerous voyage; and remember those who lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Frail is our vessel, and the ocean is wide; but as in your mercy you have set our course, so steer the vessel of our life towards the everlasting shore of peace, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart’s desire, where you, O God, are blessed and live and reign for ever.
Even as I am in the midst of the beauty of God’s creation I am very aware of the dangers and difficulties of the journey. Perhaps life holds the same, beauty and trails.
We made our way down the mountain and back to camp where who should we find napping in the middle of our tents but Ghost! As it turns out he was a little later than he anticipated. All anger at Ghost quickly turned aside as we saw the dinner he had brought for us: sandwiches grilled over the fire!
Day 3 – Dix Mountain
We decided to take it a little easier this day after climbing four the day before. It is important to realize that Dix is the highest of the five mountains in this cluster, so even though we were only going to climb that one it was still going to be a challenge.
The trail was steep, but in time opened up to some beautiful vistas:
And from the top we could see for miles.
I had been to the summit before, but was happy to have my picture again with the sun shining
We took a long, relaxed lunch, and then I took some time for prayer (again from Augustine):
O you, from whom to be turned is to fall, to whom to be turned is to rise, and in whom to stand is to abide for ever: grant us in all our duties your help in all our perplexities your guidance, in all our dangers your protection, and in all our sorrows your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The evening was spent with cards and singing songs around a campfire.
Day 4 – Home
We hiked out, not to difficult. I wanted to share one picture of what we used for toilets. There were outhouses (traditional shacks with a pit toilet) and then there were “thunder boxes.” This is by far the best name for something that I have heard in a long time.
It was a great trip for so many reasons. It was wonderful to be with family, the weather was great, and at the end I had climbed 44 out of the 46. Two left to reach my goal.