There are so many great hiking trails here in Redding. A couple of times a week I get up early with the sun and head down (in my car) to Turtle Bay and do the hike that takes you over the Sacramento River across the Sundial Bridge, through a little bit of the forest and then up a steep hill to Hilltop Drive.
It is peaceful as I walk across the river. Fall has begun and the leaves are turning golden and starting to fall, lining the footpath. The leaf littered path winds its way through the forest and along the river. It is cool in the shade, refreshing. The path then starts to climb upwards and then the hard work and pain begins! The beautiful forest has been left behind and now there is only dry yellow grass but I am no longer focused on my surroundings, all my attention is on the path and getting up that steep hill.
Just when I think that there is no possible way that I can keep on climbing I turn a corner and the end is in sight. Just a few more minutes and I will be at the top. The view from Hilltop is beautiful. I can see most of Redding, the mountains, the green, the river. I have a sense of accomplishment in my spirit, new air in my lungs and hopefully I have burned a few calories along the way. As I am standing there catching my breath my thoughts turn to why I am here on this mountain and in this city.
I usually view the valley as a place in my life where I am at my lowest. The season I was in may have been slow going or stagnate. Feeling like I was stuck with no where to go…
…but today I had a fresh perspective. Looking back I see the valley as being the beginning of something or the ending, a resting place. There is beauty, it is refreshing, peaceful and full of endless possibilities.
The climb up the steep hill is hard but on the mountain top there is beauty as you look over the land below. I can see beyond to the mountains. Today the sky was filled with grey clouds and the promise of rain which is relief for this drought stricken land. There is fresh air to breath in, you gain a new perspective and you have a chance to celebrate your accomplishment.
In the valley I felt that the Lord was saying come, rest, be with me, this is all for you. Then it moves to come take my hand let me show you more. As you climb it will be hard and it will feel like I am stretching you but you will grow and be strengthened and it will be worth it. Then come to the valley again and enjoy rest but always be ready for another mountain. Each time that I face another mountain I know the joy and reward of the climb and the descent.
Don’t forget why you are climbing your mountain. Grow and be stretched and enjoy the view from the top. If you are resting in the valley enjoy the beauty and the peace and get yourself ready for the next mountain climb.