Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics

Hot topic of the week

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

What do YOU think?

Click here join in the discussion.

Web Bonus

Dark Canyon Hike

by Brittany Pick

An 11-mile hike into a canyon at night is no easy feat!

 A full moon, round and orange, slowly climbs the night sky. We stand at the edge of the massive cliff, gazing at the canyon slicing into the earth. I squint in the dark, trying to imagine a tiny sleeping village 11 miles away.

“Well . . .” a voice breaks the silence, “you ready?”
As soon as classes had let out for spring break, three friends and I had jumped in the car and driven here from our school in California. Now we stand at the trailhead of the canyon at midnight.
I know that surviving a backpacking trip with three guys in the Grand Canyon will require endurance, patience, and a superhero’s tolerance for injuries. I ask myself, Am I ready to hike 11 miles when I’d give anything for a bed right now?
Shaking the sleepiness from my eyes, I hoist my pack onto my shoulders and give my friends a grin. “I’m always ready.”
Daniel laughs as he takes the first steps into the canyon. “Careful, guys,” he calls from ahead. “It’s steep!”
I slow my pace, quickly turning on my flashlight to avoid stumbling over loose rocks. For the next few minutes the only sounds I hear are labored breathing and our footsteps crunching on rocks. It seems as if we’re walking on a lonely, abandoned planet. I bite my lip as I concentrate on the steep trail.
An hour later, my knees are shaking under the effort of supporting me and my heavy backpack. Whose idea was this? This is harder than I—
Daniel interrupts my thoughts. He halts in front of me, his body tense.
“What?” Kevin whispers. “What is it?”
Daniel’s eyes are fixed on the trail. “I don’t know! Look!”
My heart thumps when I see a dark shape in front of us. It stands right in our path. Daniel scoots behind me as I try to make out what it is. The moon, now higher in the sky, more silver than orange, offers a little more light. Demitrio walks closer to get a better look.
“Wait!” Kevin cautions, but Demitrio waves him off. The three of us watch as he inches nearer to it.
“What is it?” I ask softly, trying not to disturb it.
Demitrio stops. He takes a step back, then leans forward. Suddenly he bursts into laughter.
“What’s going on?” Daniel demands.
Demitrio turns and jogs back to us, a grin splits his face. “It’s just a horse, guys!”
“What?” Kevin exclaims as I roll my eyes. “What’s a horse doing down here?”
“They use them to take tourists to the campground,” Demitrio says, still chuckling.
We make it past the horse. Our laughter gradually grows silent as we concentrate on the terrain before us. As we walk, the night grows even more still.
Another hour and several miles later, exhaustion sets in. My pace begins to slow. At the beginning of our journey, I’d imagined seeing the village. Now I can’t see it at all. I glance down at my shoes. I don’t want to admit it, but they are rubbing the back of my heels raw. I grimace at the thought of the blisters I already have. We must have walked halfway by now! I hope.
Suddenly I feel a tap on my shoulder. Demitrio stands behind me, motioning to my flashlight. “Turn it off,” he whispers.
I switch off the flashlight, glance up at the sky, and gasp. The moon hangs directly above us, shining brighter than I’ve ever seen it. The silver light illuminates the entire canyon, creating silhouettes of the rocks.
I put the flashlight away. For the next two hours, we walk along the dry riverbed of the canyon, letting the brilliant moon show us the path to the campsite.
Pointing ahead, Kevin suddenly exclaims, “Look!”
I nearly cry at the sight of the dim lights of the sleeping Havasupai Indian village not far away. It’s four o’clock in the morning, and the colorful tents are a welcome site.
When we reach the village, we hastily set up our own tents and get some sleep.
A great Guide
At times during that night’s hike I had wondered if the trail we were walking would ever end, or if we’d end up lost. All along that dusty trail the moon shone, giving us the light we needed to make it to the village.
Every day we walk down a trail that’s sometimes difficult to follow. You have a fight with a friend. You lose a loved one. You fail a test or get fired from a job. The stresses of life darken the trail, and sometimes you may just want to quit hiking. When you feel that way, look up. See the moon shining above you. Remember that God can give you strength to carry your burdens, and He can guide you down even the weariest roads, never failing to lead you closer to Him.
“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.’ Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!” (Psalm 32:8-11, NLT).*
*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Brittany Pick plans to study marine biology in graduate school. She writes from California.

Top | Home