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16 Weeks to 70: Week 4 Challenge

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What makes this week four a challenge in my 16 weeks to 70 series? Well, for me, (and these are my challenges I’m creating for me!) several things. But, if you don’t want to read on, just scroll down to the bottom of this page and watch our video!

The Hike Itself

This Colorado hike (West Grouse Creek to Olsen Lake) is a six mile one way adventure. It’s about 2, 960 feet elevation gain finishing up at about 10, 800 feet elevation. And, it’s rated ‘more difficult’. For sure, as described in the hiking book, it was ‘more difficult’. Crossing over five creeks and streams during our several hours of hiking, there were no real crossing ‘bridges’ other than fallen logs and lots of slippery wet slimy big rocks (actually huge rounded boulders protrude from some of the creek crossings). Hiking poles are strongly suggested just to keep your balance and ensure you don’t end up splattering your entire body in the water. Some of the trail paths were mainly just rock gully paths, so you had to be careful not to twist an ankle, lose your balance or trip and fall. Again, this is where hiking poles come in handy and add to your safety. Along the more groomed trail were ‘hidden’ rocks that could make for perfectly tripping you up and at one point, my hiking buddy, Tim, did a face plant that could have been a real disaster.

Now, Tim and I hiked about three-quarters of the way, about four miles one-way. We didn’t make it all the way to the crown jewel summit of Olsen Lake. And, that’s because black clouds started wafting in and we were intent on getting off the mountain before possibly getting stuck in a storm. Kinda anti-climatic, we made it so far, but didn’t grab the Holy Grail. And, speaking of the holy grail, this leads into the second reason this hike was a ‘positive challenge’!

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My Hiking Buddy

I never would have attempted this trail solo. So, I was really excited to have my long-time friend of decades and an important person in my and Ben’s life, our priest from Christ The King, Tim, join me on this hike. Tim was in Colorado doing youth ministry work, so he grabbed a few days off and came to stay with us. I call this reason a ‘positive challenge’ because while we’ve known Tim for so many years, I mean he’s married two of our kids and christened four of our grandchildren, neither of us had ventured out on a more difficult hike together. Now, Tim’s a hiker and he’s done his share of fourteen’ers, so I didn’t have much concern about the physicality of the adventure. In fact, I was kinda skiddish inside about whether I could keep up with him.

Honestly, I really just wanted to know that this ‘positive challenge’ of us being together in the wilderness for about seven hours would be productive in so many ways, emotionally, spiritually, and just in growing our friendship. And, I must say, it was! Tim has a quick wit, loves to make others laugh and just has a way of weaving into everyday conversation the joy of living and the message of the Gospel. Once you see this quick video I put together, you’ll understand what I mean. Hiking with someone who loves to meander along, take pictures, capture fun video to remember the day and, in general, is truly super easy going is, in my opinion, the perfect hiking partner. As I write this, I ask you, think about it, would you want to do an adventure like this with your preacher, priest, minister, pastor, bishop, reverend, elder, deacon, rabbi or other holy/spiritual teacher? Maybe. Maybe not.

PS: Hear more of Tim’s words as senior Pastor here!

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The Commitment

There are hikes. And, then there are HIKES. And, I put this hike into the latter category meaning that all-day hikes take a real commitment. You know that you are in it for the long haul barring unforeseen circumstances. Full days devoted to an activity means staying hydrated, energized and carrying your ‘load’ as you motor along the trail. Having a hiking buddy keeps you committed and focused to the goal. It’s just so much easier if you’re alone to throw in the towel and not see that finish line. However, when you’re hiking, you have to be smart, careful and prudent, and when inclement weather rolls in, you get the heck outta Dodge!

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