Lost in the Wilderness and Trailblazing through Linville Gorge

When I was around 12 years old, I went on a camping trip with a bunch of guys from our church. We went to the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area (which actually became a designated wilderness area after we were there). It has been called “The Grand Canyon” of North Carolina. The Cherokee Indians called it “EE-SEE-OH”, which means “River of Many Cliffs”.We camped out of the top of the gorge at a place called Wiseman’s View. The cliffs there,  tower over 1,OOO feet above the river and gorge below.It was a wild camping trip in the wilderness…seeing the famous “Brown Mountain Lights” at night which are weird, wavering lights that rise above and then dwindle and fade away across the other side of the gorge. There was some military training, not far from our campsite, going on that weekend. We took the soldiers some hot dogs, chips and colas, they were so appreciative and gave us some of the their rations and stuff.That was a big deal for me and our group of guys. 

The next morning, we took our long hike down into the gorge and when we got to the bottom, somewhere along the river… the trail ended. We were hungry, but fortunately my mom had packed a bag of Fruit Chewy Candy (Similar to Starburst Candy). I shared them with my friends as we hiked. I was in the lead group and we could see the rim of the gorge high above us where we thought our campsite was located. We went on ahead of the others and just picked our way, up the very steep mountain… slowly going so far, going to the left or right, stopping in front of a big rock or cliff, then  going back down a little ways and then finding another little path that would a little further up the side of the steep gorge. When we finally weaved our way up to the top of the rim of the gorge, where we were exhausted and paused on the top of one of the cliffs to thank the Lord for helping us. After we prayed, we just sat there for awhile until…we saw some baby snakes slithering towards us on the rock. All of sudden, our strength was renewed and we hiked on back to the campsite. 

Later, when everyone else got back to the campsite, our adult leader thanked me for getting the rest of the group back up the mountain. I asked him why…he said him and the rest of the group just followed our little candy wrappers and followed our path out of the gorge. 

You know, I have often thought about that experience. I wasn’t really prepared to what all we encountered in that hike..but we made it by God’s Grace and One step at a Time. I still find myself in situations as an adult, where I feel unprepared and really don’t know what to do next when facing the tall Mountains of Fear, Worry, Doubt, Confusion, and Anxiety…but by trusting in God’s Grace and taking One Step at a time…some how I make it. What mountain are you facing right now?…where you feel there is just “no way” you are going to make it and get over this situation. You and I will, if we will Trust in God and His Guidance and take One Step at a Time…His Grace, Guidance, and Strength is bigger than any Mountain we may face in life. The God who has been with you and helped you with difficult situations in the past, He is the same One who will help you now.

“He is the God who makes me strong, who makes my pathway safe.” – Psalm 18:32

“The Lord God is my Strength. He has made my feet like a deer, and makes me walk on the High Places.” – Habakkuk 3:19 


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