Lord, the vastness of the marvelous beauty you have created in Yosemite National Park is something I cannot fully express or give you adequate praise for. While we were visiting this national park, my family decided to hike the Mist Trail which leads to Nevada Falls. Graciously, God allowed me to pull some insight from this beautiful climb.
In the early morning, we set off down a dirt path that gleamed with golden hues. The bright blue sky above us could not be seen as the tops of the trees surrounded us. Yet through cracks in the trees, sunshine burst through wherever it could. These beams of warmth bounced off the murky brown river alongside us and caused us to squint our eyes to see further in front of us. All around us was the brownness of the path, the emerald trees, and the river which seemed to encapsulate us. What an awesome God! Only You could make something so seemingly dull into a sanctuary of your loving presence. This golden warmth reminded me of what the presence of the Holy Spirit felt like. While everything around me may feel overwhelming, I can rest in the fact that my God is right there beside me. Little did I know that the morning glow would not be the only thing that struck my soul that day.
This path that led us to Mist Falls seemed to be the longest walk I had taken in years, and yet we had only begun. I had no idea that we would be walking and climbing for over five more hours to get to our destination. As we finally reached an incline in our path, I smiled at the sight of it. This looked like the easiest hike I could imagine. In front of me stood a slanted and paved trail with rails on either side that appeared to curve up through the mountain. I turned to my family with a smirk and told them I would be the first one to the top. My parents, who knew exactly what the trail held in store merely exchanged a smile with one another and chuckled. Thank you, Father, for the ignorance I had at the beginning of our trek. Without it, I would not have experienced such an overwhelming state of awestruck wonder at the beauty of Your creation.
Not even twenty minutes into this walk, the slanted hill became steeper and steeper. My legs grew tired, and I turned to my younger brother, David, who was walking right alongside me, and our steady trudging came to a stop. We paused on that trail and suddenly I changed my mind. Was the climb to see this mountaintop worth the strain on my body? Maybe we could go to an easier trail? My parents finally caught up to us and laughed as we all stopped to catch our breath. After we had regained our strength, my parents reminded us that they knew this trail would get harder and told us that we had no option to quit here. They were surely right because the trail quickly grew steep. Our path began to weave deeper into the mountain, turning into steps made of concrete slabs. All around us stood the white and grey stone of the mountain. A bright blue sky replaced the morning glow, and we began removing our sweatshirts.
Now, Mist Trail has three main landmark spots that I remembered especially well. The first is the climb up to Vernal Falls. The second was the top of Vernal waterfall, which stretched up even further into the mountain. I thought it was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever laid my eyes on, until we reached the top of Nevada Falls. The climb to finish our hike was one of the most mentally and physically challenging things I have done in a long time. As we reached the top of the mountain, the hot sun beating down on my back along with the strain on my calves and thighs nearly overtook me. I wanted so badly to just sit down and pout, but I was determined to see Nevada Falls. Our destination was just out of reach and all I had to do was walk a little bit longer.
Heavenly Father, I thank you that my parents did not allow us to turn around, because coming to the end of that path was worth every moment of exhaustion and frustration. Here before us stood the most magnificent rush of mountain water. Once again, we were encapsulated in the beauty of God’s creation. I was so completely overwhelmed by the mightiness and power of the Lord. My chest filled with this sense of belonging and chills swept over my body. The cyan current pulled down the mountain with so much strength. To our right stood the mountain top that we had conquered and to the left lay the valley below, full of white fir trees and ponderosa pines. This sight took a hold of me, and I realized that the God of the universe who had created this breathtaking rush of water, also created me. In the Father’s eyes I was just as beautiful as the tallest tree in the valley, the strongest boulder, or the clearest droplet of water. Each intricate detail that enabled me to understand just how deeply God cared about his creation, which I was part of. As I sat on the bridge that overlooked the mountain's edge and realized that this climb reflected not only the might of the Creator, but also the deep love he had for me. Just as God put each piece of stone together that made up that marvelous mountain, I was intricately woven together in the depths of my mother's womb. Thank you for creating me, Lord. Thank you for filling the earth with reminders that I am loved by you.