Saturday, July 22, 2023

Pinckney Blind Lake Backpacking Jul '23

Time for night #13 at Blind Lake and my second in 2023. This overnight and round trip would have a couple of firsts. My father joined for the first time to see Blind Lake. He didn't want to stay overnight this time however so he still hiked out on Friday night. It was also the first time I went in just Jonah and I. The rest of the family has been out of town this week and so this was our time to go out and explore the outdoors. The third first was that Jonah was trying out a hammock for the first time to see how that goes with backpacking.

Trip Info:
Potawatomi Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 888 ft.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Marymere Falls (Olympic NP)

Another popular hike in Olympic National Park that starts near the beautiful Crescent Lake. Its not a location I had heard of before our trip to Washington State but it caught my attention as we were looking for outdoor options on the north side of the Olympic park. Apparently plenty of others knew of this hike as the parking was full and then some as we prepared to begin our trek.

Trip Info:
Marymere Falls Trail from Storm King Ranger Station
Trailhead Elevation: 0,000 ft.
Distance: 1.60 mi. 
Elevation Gain: 356 ft.
Start Time: 2:37pm
End Time: 3:19pm

Trip Report:
We began our hike from the Storm King Ranger Station. You can also begin this hike from the Lake Crescent Lodge. There is nice signage from the Ranger Station highlighting the start of the hike. It also describes in brief the nature of the hike. The beginning half mile plus is mostly flat and a wide trail. Then there are two bridge crossings and then the last 2/10 of a mile is an uphill climb. At the bridge crossings there was some signage about how the salmon create egg nests in the creek. After the crossings there is a brief climb up to a sign highlighting the beginning of a loop that takes one up to two different viewing areas for the falls. The sign suggests a clockwise passage of this final loop.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Rainier Skyline Trail

The Skyline Trail loop at Rainier is the premier dayhike for the average tourist visitor to Paradise. I would describe it as your typical National Park loop where everyone and their grandma are out there giving it a try. On the plus side its getting people outdoors. On the negative, it makes for a crowded trail and a number of people who are one step from calling search and rescue. The trail is consistent with amazing views of Mt. Rainier and in a year like this, 2023, even in early July, had plenty of snow patches to deal with on trail. While there is no summit on a trail like this its primary destination is the Panorama Point overlook near the high point of the loop.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Maple Pass Loop (North Cascades)

One of the premier hikes in the North Cascades is the Maple/Heather Pass loop which leaves from Rainy Pass along Washington 20. This evaluation is true at least for the average day hiker not getting into backpacking deep into the mountains. This loop holds the promise of two great mountain passes and plenty of fantastic views along the way. There is the added bonus of a spur to a mountain lake and views of another lake. The trail is very hikable with no rock scrambling necessary. We saw good words on this trail in our research on the North Cascades during our family vacation to the Pacific Northwest. Looking for a big afternoon hike to add in to our day's tour through the park this was the perfect fit.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Jesus' Inclusive Love

[Originally published in the Monroe News on June 30, 2023]

The inclusiveness of Jesus really is an amazing thing.  St. Paul really describes it best in Romans 5 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  When Jesus went to the cross it was to die for every last human being that has ever lived.  Jesus didn’t make distinctions or create boundaries when He poured out His life and His love, alongside His blood, on the cross.  We hear of this kind of love in well known verses like John 3:16 where it speaks of God’s love for the world.  And the openness and the inclusiveness of God’s love and salvation in Christ is amazing “whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”  I’ve always loved that word there, “whosoever.”

In a sermon I preached a couple of weeks ago I tried to capture in more relatable terms just what God’s amazing love for us looks like.  This came to be in a Gospel lesson we shared in worship from Matthew 9 regarding the calling of Matthew.  When we first meet Matthew he is sitting in a tax booth likely doing his daily job.  And Jesus very simply and bluntly says to him “Follow me.”  And then the text tells us Matthew “rose and followed him.”  Just like that.  What’s amazing about this is the fact that tax collectors were widely regarded by society and particularly the faithful Jews of that day as being sinners through and through.  They were seen as traitors to their own people as they aided the Romans.  They were usually thieves and liars in how they conducted their business.  We have no reason to think Matthew was any different.  And so we come to the point: it was a sinner like Matthew that Jesus called to follow. That is amazing love.

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