Forging Trip : August 5-13, 2014
There are two quotes we share with our Seekers each year that explain succinctly the purpose, drive, and goal of our forging trips. I'd like to share them with you so you can understand the mindset our Seekers held during this trip.
“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”-Socrates
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” -God: 2 Timoth y 4:7, Romans 5:5
This trip, more than others, pushed us beyond our physical limits, brought us to God-created and inspired places only our imaginations could conjure, and plunged us deep into the vast waters of God's love for us. We experienced what it means to be men and women of God in an ever emerging spiritual, physical, and nutritional world. Those were the goals of our trip in a nutshell, but I don't believe any words, pictures, or anecdotes can truly convey the magnitude of importance, or change, resulting from this 2014 Forging Trip. But I'll do my best to share our journey with you.
Texans like to say that Texas offers every kind of landscape: prairie, ocean, desert, mountain. Now, I am Texan-born and bred, but California has us beat on diversity of scenery in a single US state. In a distance of less than 200 miles, we experienced rugged mountains speckled with vibrant wildflowers and crystalline lakes, aqua waves crashing into craggy cliffs along the Pacific coast, and enchanting forests lush with ferns and magnificent, towering redwoods. Now, Texas is wonderful, don't get me wrong. But California? Sigh... California is lovely. We spent our last two days driving down the scenic Highway 1 and exploring San Francisco's wharfs, food and sunshine, all while Texas was experiencing 110-degree heat. Sorry to rub that in. :-) But we had our challenges too.
Did you know there are 26 bones in the human foot? When you hike 11 miles in the heat of the day you become very aware of each of the tiny 26.. wait.. did I say 26 bones? Surely I meant a million bones. That's what it feels like after you spend 8 hours traversing down a valley, up a mountain, over a ridge (or five), around a lake (or four), through a thicket, down a mountain and back up a valley... It feels like you have a million tiny, fragile bones in each foot and that you have broken every single one of them. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but really, your feet hurt. A lot.
By day three and mile 30, our five-teen/three-adult group had easily reached a consensus: this was the hardest hike Veritas has ever done. It's not really enough to just tell you how far we walked. It's a matter of how steep these trails dipped and how often they rose up and down. If I tell you we hiked a day without our packs, you'll think we had an easy go of it. When you hike the terrain we hiked, it doesn't matter how much you're not carrying, it is long and hard and tiring.
If something is easy and no one complains, there's no cause for celebration. But when something is as difficult and exhausting as the hike we took our Seekers through, and when those Seekers refuse to give in to the desire to quit or complain, it's time to pop the top and celebrate!! (Or, in this case, drink purified mountain lake water and jump into that lake for a refreshing swim before a celebratory dinner of... lentils. Or something equally exciting! :)) Seriously, though. These Seekers are extraordinary and strong young people in body and spirit. The purpose of this taxing trip to the beautiful state of California, the purpose of hiking miles and miles through mountains and beaches and forests, was to FORGE ahead -on this quest for health and character and finding the One who brings it to all fullness. And that is exactly what we did.
Here are a sampling of images from our trip.
Follow the rest of our photo journey on our Facebook page here.