Waiting on … Dothan

If you know me, it’s no secret that I love mountains. In fact, 46 of my friends are mountains. Each one having a unique personality and perspective. From any summit or approach in the high peaks region of New York State, I can look out and call by name those mountains looking back at me.

There was a minor earthquake in the Adirondacks earlier this week, very small 2.5, that caused me to meditate on the permanent, impermanence of mountains. I wondered about Mt. Marcy, our tallest mountain, shaking. It didn’t in this recent quake, but what would it take to move Mt. Marcy? Simply: an act of God.

My mind traveled back in time to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on the Cascade Range in Washington State in 1980, I was 6. The eruption of this beautiful 9,677ft mountain reduced it to 8,363ft. Think about that! The mountain was moved, but tragically many people died, lives were changed, and property was destroyed.

I’m sure for someone Mt. St. Helens represented some personal mountain, something they hoped they could overcome, but didn’t believe was possible. But then, the mountain was moved, it was knocked down, it prominence and majesty irrevocably changed.

I love mountains, in nature. Personal, metaphorical mountains in life, honestly, I’ve climbed them, and I can do without them. Yes, I know there are more to come. Hey, at least I’m honest.

Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, was given a vision. It was ridiculous from a human perspective; and he arrogantly shared it with his family. At his young age, he had no idea the mountains and valleys that were to come before the purpose of that vision came to be: not for his glory, but Gods, and ultimately, salvation for others.

There is a period as the Lord begins to move Jospeh from his fathers house, to the hands of his brothers, and ultimately to the seat of power in Egypt, when it seems that God was quiet, not involved, not speaking, when happenstance seems to be in control. But God.

Only with years of anguish and sorrow, in triumph and tragedy, could Joseph see the hand of God orchestrating his life. Joseph remained faithful, even while the Father was quietly maneuvering him to be a rescuer of his family: even his brother who had wronged him. As Joseph tells his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20; cf. Ro. 8:28-29).

Like Joseph, many of us seem to be on our way to Dothan. We are sent out, and at times it seems that we are unable to hear the whispering of heaven to assure us that we are heading in the right direction. Except for “the man” along the way telling us the way there.

Dothan, דֹּתָן, is an interesting word, as it seems to mean two wells, or a place of waters. Water often signifies life and refreshing in Scripture. And in Joseph’s case, it did mean life, just not the life he was expecting.

For the first time in many, many years, I find myself on that journey to Dothan. Not exactly sure as to why, and unable to discern the “why,” yet finding comfort that His will is ordering the way. For me, that is my Mt. St. Helens eruption, and the fracturing of the mountain of abandonment that I’ve attempted to cross for as long as my memory has been. While some pray for healing, I often pray: “I will never leave you … I am with you always … “ that’s my security, the presence of Christ.

It’s the paradox of go, and wait: hurry up, but be still!

Dothan is not the destination, it is a place of life and refreshing, for the next leg of the journey. Dothan is a place of life, but also a place of miraculous victory! It is a junction point that we look back to and say, “I needed to go there, in order to get here.” Where we go may not be what we are expecting, but it is what He is ordering. The purpose will only be clear after the rescue.

The mountains we pray to be moved in faith are moved by an act of God alone. We can hardly move ourselves, so let Him do the fracturing, the shaking, and ultimately the healing.

Just as Jacob did with Joseph, our Father in heaven has showered gifts upon us and wealth for the work along the way (I Cor. 12-14). We are adorned, even in our servants attire, in robes of His Sons glorious righteousness, and we will settle, after all the Dothans of this life, in a place prepared especially for you and me, by the hand of Messiah Himself (Jn. 14:3).

That mountain before you, as you stress to climb it, will crumble with one word from the One who set it there. Glory to His name. Trust Him.

Shabbat shalom.
Pictured: Mt. Marcy from Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain.

Trails-less Traveled 5

Trout Lake Mountain Bushwhack and Chub Mt. Revisit.

It’s been nearly two years since my last Trails-less Traveled post. After a busy week, and a busy morning, including planting and weeding in the garden, I slipped over to a favorite spot on route 10 in the Town of Arietta to hike out to Trout Lake Mt.. I have climbed many mountains in that area, and visit there often, as it is close to home. Trout Lake Mt. is visible as I travel route 10, across a wetland that runs alongside the road, and has some nice rock outcroppings that are very enticing.

The “backside” of Trout Lake Mt. Is on the right side of the pic.

So this morning I took some bearings from my map, made a plan, had lunch, and hit the road. Having climbed several neighboring mountains, I knew the herd path out in the general direction well, and the outlet crossing where I would leave the herd path and head into the woods (see pics). While it may seem that a direct route from the Chub Mt./Lake parking area would reduce distance, having paddled that area, I know that there is a wetland and a deep, beaver infested (well, they do make their presence known), water crossing that is not possible unless one wants to swim. So out, around and up to the desired mountain I headed.

The bushwhack from the water crossing (see pics) would be 2.4 miles out and back; not a difficult distance. With a full canopy of leaves above, and everything leafed out at ground level, having the correct bearing, and a solid mental picture of the surrounding geographical features, natural backstops, and siderails to aid in direction, is vital. I chose to follow the shoulder of Sherman Mountain, then a quick drop to being the ascent up Trout Lake Mt. as the most obvious route.

I’m standing on the herd path which goes to the right, but my path is directly ahead!

Having done a quick measure of the expected mileage between points, I engaged my Fitbit at the trailhead, which allowed me to accurately gage expected arrival times to my predetermined points of travel, to include the summit of Trout Lake Mt.

The wooded high point of Trout Lake Mt.

When properly done, and executed, it is amazing how accurate compass coordinates are, not surprising really, but super fun! As I approached the wooded summit of Trout Lake Mt. I could see rock outcroppings along the shoulder of the summit that looked so enticing to say, “There it is!” But no, I carried on, to the high point, confirmed with GPS. Then off to some nice lookouts facing Good Luke Mt. and Cliffs, as well as State Brook Mountain, all on the opposite side of route 10.

Looking toward State Brook Mt.

I spent some time up top, until I could not stand the swarm of horse flies, or dear flies, any longer. Then, since I had planned to head over to Sherman Mt. after and the flies were just too annoying, I did a reverse (or back) azimuth, basically setting my compass to the opposite bearing than I headed out with, back to the water crossing.

Uneventful, and I ended up exactly where I had entered the bushwhack. At that point I visited the beautiful clearing that the water passes through, and admired the scenery for a time (see pics), then moved on.

As it was early, and I had changed plans by not going over to Sherman Mt., I decided to revisit Chub Mt, a local rock climbing favorite. For its size, it is a wonderful mountain to climb. The numerous rock climbers who visit the mountain have made some beautiful and easy to follow herd paths, that end just short of the summit. The path I took today was right along the top of the wall that they climb, so views of Trout Lake Mt. and Sherman Mt. are plentiful (see pics). A quick up and down, then back to the car.

Trout Lake Mt on the left and Sherman Mt on the right. from Chub Mt.

The total mileage of today’s adventure was 5.6 miles, with a 2.4 mile bushwhack. On this beautiful day, it was perfect … except for the flies!!! … and a nice soul boost.

While I would only recommend bushwhacking to experienced backcountry adventurers, going out to the backcountry on marked and groomed trails can be very refreshing. Still, even on a short adventure, always make sure that you have the “10 essentials” in your pack, just google it, and someone who knows where you are going.

Even on today’s short outing, I had everything I needed in my chest pack, and in my 20 liter backpack was everything I would need to survive a night in the woods in the event of an emergency. Thankfully, I was able to enjoy a cold drink and a candy bar when I got back to my Jeep!

Get out there! There is so much to explore!

Be well. Shalom.

ADK Cascade and Porter Trip Report

Preparing to head down Cascade, and back to reality after a great morning of hiking.

On Thursday morning, January 30, 2020, I took a quick trip up to the High Peaks region of New York to climb Cascade and Porter Mts. I usually avoid Cascade as it is perhaps the most popular high peak, given its ease of access and short distance. During the spring, summer, and fall this trail is extremely busy, and because of that, not very enjoyable.

However, it is a fantastic hike. When I arrived at 8:00am the temperature was 3F. For any Adirondack winter hike, correct gear is a must – wool and microfiber clothing, in layers is vital. No cotton.

Frozen tree tops on the way up Cascade.

The trail was well broken out, as expected, which made for a faster pace. I used micro-spikes from start to finish. Snowshoes would have been overkill. The scenery was beautiful. Windswept and frozen trees against the clear blue sky. There are several places as you gain elevation for spectacular views to inspire and motivate to reach the top.

View of Cascade from Porter.

Porter Mt. is .7 from the Cascade trail. There is a quick loss and gain of elevation on the way out and back, but nothing of consequence. Porter is often an overlooked peak, but it does provide breathtaking views of the surrounding high peaks.

Part of the short climb up to the Cascade summit.

From the Porter summit to Cascade is a very quick 20 to 25 minutes. Cascade provides amazing 360 views of the high peaks, over to Lake Placid, and down to the trail head on Rt. 73. It is a bald summit, and in summer is a great spot to sit and take in the majesty of the Lord’s creation.

View from Cascade from Porter of Algonquin, NYS second highest peak, which towers of Wright Peak to the right. The MacIntyre Range is a personal favorite.

For a late January day the summit was very comfortable, even though it was probably in the single digits. No wind to speak of on the summit helped, and I was down to my marino wool base layer.

View of Mt. Marcy, NYS highest peak, from Porter. I believe Phelps Peak is on the left.

I spent about 30 minutes on top and had the summit to myself the entire time, as I did on Porter. On the way down I ran into the first people I saw all morning, and had a very pleasant conversation with them, sharing hiking notes and stories. I was a bit concerned with the other groups that I ran into closer to the trail head – no gear, improper footwear, and from what I could see, no water. I am not usually critical of people on the trail, but heading up to a high peak, on a cold winter day without proper gear puts other people at risk, namely the rangers and first responders who would be sent to fetch you. Always bring proper gear – and know how to use it.

Winter pack.

Pictured above is my winter pack. I wasn’t sure if the trail to Porter would be broken out, so I strapped my snowshoes (MSR Lightening Ascents 30″) to my pack – I generally do anyway, as it is a good habit to foster. Also, my Black Diamond ice ax. I didn’t think I would need it, but its good to have the tools of winter. Inside you will find: extra socks, shirt, gloves and hat; crampons; goggles; outer shell jacket in the sleeping bag compartment; food; map; headlamp; compass; TP; bivy bag; first-aid kit; and assorted other items. I carried 60 liters of water as well in the side pockets insulated by wool socks stored upside down (consumed about half of it). My pack is an Osprey Kestrel 48L, and I absolutely love this pack.

Totals: 6 miles, 2,300’ of elevation gain, move time: 2.5 hrs. Time on trail: 3.5 hrs.

Hope you enjoyed this quick report. Blessings.