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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Weekend on Mt. Washington

by Jason Upson

My brother, my dad, and I experienced oh so many unfortunate circumstances.

    Lightning split the sky and an ear- shattering crack warned us of what we’d just run into. A hailstorm rained down on us. A resounding boom followed the thunder and shook the ground beneath us. Nature had unleashed the full summer wrath of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Three of us were there on that unfortunate mountainside: my younger brother, my dad, and me.
    We had come up to the Presidential Range the previous day and were just finishing up what we thought would be a peaceful Sabbath hike. We were coming back down Mt. Washington that afternoon on a trail that we weren’t familiar with, when a storm suddenly rushed in on us.
    I slipped and skidded on my rear about five feet until rough-hewn rock abruptly stopped my slide. I hit the same cut I’d gotten earlier a second time, and the oversized Band-Aid hung on for dear life. I quickly slapped the soaked bandage back on and jumped to my feet. I was hardly willing to let a fall like that stop me from getting a good night’s rest.
    “You all right?” Dad looked down at the patch he’d applied about 30 minutes earlier.
    “Yeah.” I looked around, betraying no emotion. “Did you ask for this storm?”
    “I think God’s mad at us,” he replied, helping my younger brother down the slippery rock. “We should’ve taken it easy this Sabbath.”
    He wasn’t wrong about that. We’d practically killed ourselves trying to get up to the summit of Mt. Washington in the morning. Then we decided to take a trail that we thought would get us to our campsite faster. The worst part of it was we were all carrying 50-plus-pound packs. At the moment these burdens were soaked to the core, considerably adding to their weight. Despite all of these setbacks, we continued on down the trail that we knew nothing about.
    The slippery slopes that we’d so carefully  trod had transformed themselves into ledges with unforgiving drop-offs. There were several times that I thought one of us had broken a bone or two, largely due to the massive weight that we carried down these cliffs. Thankfully this never happened, but we weren’t without fatigue to hinder us along the way.
   We finally made it to the campsite, a lovely place located next to a raging river. We then proceeded to cram ourselves inside our Wal-Mart-special, dome-style tent, relieved that the worst of our journey was over.
    “Jason, do you have a sleeping bag in your pack?” My dad asked, almost nonchalantly.
    “No, where are the ones you brought?”
    We both looked at the bare-rack pack, intermittently exchanging blank looks. Then, in unison, we looked at my younger brother’s backpack: the only pack to come off that mountain with a sleeping bag! I was upset, to put it lightly, but I was too exhausted to express it. We unrolled that seemingly tiny sleeping bag on the floor of the tent and attempted to sleep.
    The next day offered its own twists. Dad went back up the trail we’d come down to retrieve our sleeping bags. Lucky for us, they were still there (and they remain in our attic to this day). However, as we came to what we thought would be the last leg of our journey, we discovered we’d taken the wrong trail!
    The trail we had chosen landed us on the opposite side of the mountain range. With no phone or any other option, we hiked about nine miles along the highway to get back to our vehicle. We were thoroughly trashed!

    A chance to rest
    Later that week I thought about our regrettable venture, and I uncovered a lesson that I didn’t see when we were in all those unfortunate circumstances.   Most of our disasters occurred on Sabbath. It seemed as if God was punishing us for not keeping His Sabbath, but that wasn’t true. Our own reckless actions resulted in what happened. We had the choice to take it easy that day, but we decided to show that mountain who was boss. That very same mountain made us remember how human we are in the face of God’s creation.
    Each week God invites us to take time out of our busy, adrenaline-driven lives to experience a different type of rush in the midst of the world’s confusion. It’s the rush of peace that flows over you when you enter the presence of God and experience a lovingness that no earthly entity could ever create.
    I still climb mountains on Sabbath. The  difference is, I climb with God and rest in His strength. He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

    Jason Upson is into audio technology, writing, mountain biking, and hiking. His home is in Sanbornville, New Hampshire. This fall he’ll be heading back to Southern Adventist University to continue majoring in film production.

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