Monday, October 24, 2016

Hiking Horizon

Sunday afternoon, members of our church gathered at Camp Horizon, the United Methodist church camp near by. Katherine had symphony practice, so Rachel and I headed out for the fun.

Horizon is a beautiful place. It's built on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River and the views are amazing.

We got there early, so Rachel and I hiked around a bit. We found a snake skin, which I found fascinating but Rae refused to come anywhere near it.

Eventually, other people arrived and we started the official activities of the day. About 50 of us, ranging from a 10 week old baby to people in their 80's, ventured out on a 3 mile hike through woods and prairie and rocky ridge. Our student pastor, Daniel, was our guide.
Daniel is much beloved by our church for his compassion and gentle humor and his quiet leadership. During the hike it also became evident that the kids of the church adore him.
Rachel and her friend Madeline spent most of the hike following at Daniel's heels, soaking up his every word.
Daniel, a seasoned hiker, had assured everyone that this hike was easy, nothing too taxing. However, most of us on the jaunt were not used to walking distances on uneven ground or climbing anything, so it was more strenuous that we'd anticipated!

But the scenery around us was beautiful...

...and the comradery was great. People moved forward and back along the trail, chatting as they went. Nearly half the hikers were children and they skipped from spot to spot with infectious enthusiasm.
It was wonderful to be out in nature, observing the details of the world around us, feeling the muscles in our bodies, talking and laughing with friends old and new. I think we all need to take more hikes.
We found our way back to camp just before the sun went down. Other church members had built a fire in the fire pit and we roasted hot dogs and made s'mores and ate together.

We all sat around, full and warm and surrounded by people we loved.  The sense of community and the satisfaction of just being radiated around us as we watched the sun set. And it was glorious.

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