"They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse."
-Emily Dickinson

God turned to speak to me
(Don’t anybody laugh);
God found I wasn’t there
At least not over half.

-Robert Frost

I cannot deny the existence of God when I go backpacking. Whether it's while doing an uphill with a full pack and having my breath ripped out of my lungs by the beauty of a north eastern woodland, dappled by fingers of golden sunlight, or if it's in the middle of the night, when a strange noise makes you sit bolt upright on your sleeping bag, praying that it's not the bear they saw the day before rummaging through your campsite looking for Gorp or tasty body parts.

On the uphills, it's often a case of just plodding on, (The Backpackers Prayer..."You pick them up Lord, I'll put them down.) and you get into the routine of just going on and on. Finally the wind is gone from you. You stop to rest, mop your brow and then you look up.

"My God! Who put this view here?"

And you find yourself writing all sorts of award committees to get the body responsible at least a letter of recoginition. Then maybe sheepishly, you realize that this perfect view has always been here, created by a hand more powerful than your own.

On the other hand, there's the desperate plea to God in the middle of the night. I find myself dreading the time to turn in for two reasons

1) My hiking partners turn in early and wake up late. That makes it no fun in the mornings and if you want to get an early start on a day hike you have to rouse them with lots of noise or cold water.
2)It's SCARY at night.

Nevermind the breathtaking moonlit landscape, it's still a frightful thing if you're not sharing your tent with a hiking buddy. Noises in the woods get louder at night, and it's hard to discern the direction they are coming from. A wood mouse rustling through a pile of leaves to get at a tasty mushroom sounds exactly like a group of three bears that are not looking for porridge!

In those dark hours my mind turns to God and pleas of "just let me sleep if it's gonna get me Lord."

Things invariably turn out okay. No bears in the food bags, no axe murderers outside the tent. And as soon as I'm off the trail, I'm agnostic again.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.