After being under stay-at-home orders from the Corona Virus for more than 2 months, the State of Arizona is finally starting to reopen retail stores, city parks, and hiking trails. That is all we needed to hear to set our plan in motion to take our first hiking adventure since this crisis.
I am so blessed to have these 2 beautifully spirited friends that love to hike and take quick get-a-ways and am happy to be in tow.
Our adventure on this fine day was to Baldwin Trails, embedded in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, AZ. How can you go wrong in the immaculate red rock country? So we pack up the Jeep at 4:45 am, grabbed our breakfast and coffee, and off we go. Excited about this opportunity because it has been a while, our ring leader of trail finding gives us the scoop about the trail. It’s only two miles, easy peasy, and the trail loops the base of the mountain. It should be quick and easy for us as we build up our stamina for hiking again. And then she hooked me in; there is a creek we can stop at and the water should be great. That’s it, I’m all in. We get to our destination; find our parking spot and stock up backpacks with water and our mask. Our minds are set; 2 miles, nice view, creek, circle the mountain, and back to the Jeep. We can do this; we have hiked two-mile trails before.
In the back of my mind, I’m thinking this is going to be a great opportunity to put my rookie photography skills to the test. One of my low-key dreams it to take up photography and capture some amazing views from the international travels I have planned. And that I did. Every turn of the trail was filled with picture-perfect moments. Low and behold, my friend says, can you hear that? I think we are close to the creek. We found the creek; put our feet in the cold, brisk, water running over a beautiful red rock with about 10 other people doing the same. We take our 15min detour and we are back to our trail.
It was a busy trail of hikers, bikers, families, and individuals and everyone was so nice and respectful. The trail was well marked, but the longer we hiked the more challenging the trail became. And when you are working on improving your physical health, as we all three are, being challenged a bit was a good thing. I was grateful for my Fitbit to help keep my heart regulated, track my steps, and measure the distance. I also added the compass app to ensure we don’t get lost, lol. Midway into the trail, it became very rocky, the hills were more like a roller coaster, and about 2 hours into the trail, we were all beginning to feel it and our bodies confirmed it. Now each person we saw on the trail became an information bank for us; we would have the same questions for each person we say. How much further do we have to go? Because we are now 2.5 hours into the hike and our belief that this will be a simple hike and we can do it, is coming into question. As a mental mile marker, I said to my hiking budding, “now I understand how people can get up on Camelback Mountain and have to call for help to get down”. What I didn’t want to say out loud was that is exactly how I was feeling. Let’s stop and just call for help. I thought I had reached my capacity to move any further. But I didn’t want to feel like the only one to have put limitations on what I could do. Because after all, as a Christian woman, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Believe it or not, it was at that point, my mind shifted to calling on my faith in God to get through this. So I quietly, said my prayers asking God to help me with just one more step. By now, it’s 10 am and I’m thinking what have I gotten myself into, my feet are hurting, the sun is getting hot and every turn of the trail would go up in elevation and then go down and back up again. All I wanted to see was a glimpse of the parking lot.
By now, we all have walking sticks found along the trail that has been key for us to keep moving. It became the push we needed to take one more step. I can tell we were all struggling and starting to look inside to keep us going because now we are about 10 feet apart in distance, heads down to keep an eye on our steps with a periodic look back to ask, you good? At this point, we are out of the water, the battery on our phones was at 10% or lower, and still no end in sight. Between the three of us, no one would say, “I can’t do this” or “let’s call for help”. The fact of the matter is we were all calling on our faith to get us to the parking lot. We were way beyond our physical limitations; it was about our mental limitations.
If I could just see it, I can believe it.
This became my mantra as we approached every turn around the mountain. At this point, we are four hours into this hike and my feet felt like I was wearing cement shoes. Every step I took required much more effort than the last and I wasn’t sure where the next ounce of effort would come from. But if I could just see the cars leading to the parking lot, I could then believe the finish line was near.
My internal conversation had become so loud that my thoughts were the only thing I could hear. My vision became tunneled and my path was so clear any hikers were approached just moved graciously to the left so we did not break our rhythm of left, right, left. Once again, my inner voice said, If I could just see it (the parking lot), I can believe we can make it.
You see, if you can see it, you really will believe it, just as I did. When we hit the last turn, we saw cars lining the street and our home base, the parking lot. We all looked at one another, high fives all around and we instantly began to give God all the glory for helping us break through our limiting belief and conquer that trail. Until next time,
Laura C Bulluck – I Am A Conquerer