It was a long walk to get there, but we made it. There were times I didn’t think we would and I was even ready to turn around and go back, but we didn’t. And in not turning around, we gained the enjoyment of a lovely waterfall and a different perspective.
We needed to take it easy, but we were in the mountains! How can you just sit by the pool when the trees are calling your name? We were outside of Yosemite at the wonderful Tenaya Lodge. We had gone into Yosemite Valley the day before, but there were too many people. So on Sunday we were staying close to the lodge to avoid the crowds and just get some much needed rest. The day before, I had gone and asked where the trail around the lodge started, and went to check it out. I walked for a couple of minutes and saw that it was a hard packed road, easy to walk. Perfect for a man recovering from radiation, and his exhausted wife.
Mike was finding it hard to take pictures this weekend. He was tired, and with all the crowds it just was not easy to take a good landscape. So the idea of taking a walk to a waterfall was the perfect way to start the day. There was a problem though, although I totally didn’t know it was a problem until much later. You see I really hadn’t asked anyone about the waterfall. Oh I asked about the way to the path, but I didn’t ask how far it was, or how to know we were there. I just naturally assumed that there would be some kind of sign pointing the way, and showing how far, just like in Yosemite. Never did it occur to me that there would be no sign, no direction and not a hint of how far. Nothing!
So we set out to find the waterfall. How hard could it be? Well we walked for a good long while. It was nice weather wise, but the longer we walked, the more we wondered how much farther? At one point, a car drove past, and then back again just a few minutes later. Mike took it as a bad sign. They couldn’t have found the waterfall that fast? They probably didn’t find it at all! We eventually stopped to have a drink and take off our sweatshirts. I did have a signal, but it gave us no hint as to where the waterfall was. All my screen showed me was green.
We were getting hot, and with no indication of being close to our destination, we started to contemplate turning around. It wasn’t long after that when we met a dad with his little girl in a jeep. She was hanging out of the sun roof and asked us if we were going to the waterfall. When we told her “yes” she proceeded to tell us how we will take the trail off the road to get to it.
We were excited! We were on the right track. They had just come from the waterfall, and we now had additional directions. We felt a surge of new energy, and started walking again along the road. While we had more information, we neglected to ask one simple question. How much farther? We continued walking and started looking for trails off the road. We even came to a spot where there was water running, but couldn’t find this illusive path we needed to take. We continued on, and again we started to get discouraged. We had a car pass us going in, so again we knew it was ahead of us, but the question would be whether we could make it.
We eventually came to spot where 2 cars were parked. This had to be it, but where? As we explored the area, we saw a building and then saw a path going off into the forest. This had to be it! I followed Mike as he walked, as it was just wide enough for one person. We saw the water running along the path, and it didn’t take long to see our destination.
When we got there we took pleasure in the surroundings, but there was also relief at having actually arrived! It would have been sad to have come so far and not found what we were looking for. We stayed at the waterfall for a bit, me enjoying the cold water, and Mike trying to find the perfect shot. It wasn’t long before we were on the trail, retracing our walk back to the hotel. It’s strange, but the walk back seemed much shorter than our walk to the falls. As we walked, we passed people who were now taking the same road. Some were in cars, while others like us were walking. We waved to all who passed by, and even spoke to some others letting them know what was on the path ahead. How much longer they would need to go, and other landmarks up ahead to look for.
With each new group, you could see a renewed spirit in their face, as we told them what was ahead. It seemed to give them encouragement that we had made it, and were now on our way back. I mean come on? If those two old farts could do it “Why can’t we?” they must be thinking.
As I thought of our walk and all the people we met on our way out of the forest. It really reminded me of how life works. We all are walking the same path. Along the way we meet people who need help, direction and encouragement. Sometimes I need it, and at other times I am the one giving it to others. I thought about how down we felt when we didn’t know how much farther, and then the renewed hope when we came across someone who had been through the same thing. Those who were on the way out gave us encouragement to finish the journey. When we were coming out, we did the same.
We all have a story, and within it there’s wisdom and perspective that I believe God gives us to share with others. They are stories that give you the strength to make it through the day, and maybe your story will do the same for someone else.