File this one in the folder marked, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Actually, that’s not a folder in my family. It’s a huge stack of folders occupying a massive set of cabinets that overflow a large storeroom.
The good news is that I can check off one more item on my “chair list“. I climbed Gorham Mountain in Acadia National Park. At 525 feet, it’s hardly a mountain, but anything higher than the steps leading to the second floor of my house is a mountain to me these days.
How does a man with MS climb a mountain, you ask? He doesn’t, unless he has the physical and (just as important) emotional support of others. In my case, I was helped by family members: my wife, two daughters (one of whom flew 3000 miles to join in the adventure), a niece, her husband, and their 11-month-old son. The baby helped by being the only one of our company who would have had a more difficult time than me. He took the easy way out; his father carried him.
Having climbed Gorham in my abler days, I recall it being a fairly leisurely ascent. With MS, it might as well have been K2. The biggest problem was that the path was mostly a series of rocks, anywhere from “baby heads” to massive boulders, which necessitated crawling (on the way up) or sliding (on the way down).
The entire trip took almost five hours. Due to my concerns about reaching the base before the sun set and/or the mosquitoes overwhelmed us, there was not nearly enough time to lounge at the top and enjoy a view that makes this trek (usually) well worth the effort. Still, we had enough time to take some photos of our valiant troupe:
…as well as the bella vista of Frenchman’s Bay:
As I look back on the climb, muscles still aching, scrapes and bruises still smarting, in spite of the difficulty and humiliation, I’m glad I did it.
The funny thing about such experiences is that, over time, memory files off the rough spots, covers over the blemishes, and buffs the whole ordeal to a glossy sheen, making it attractive and desirable in retrospect. I’ve already warned my family to slap me if I suggest doing it again.
The next day, it rained in Bar Harbor. When the clouds cleared, we were rewarded with this spectacular sight:
In the story of Noah, God uses the rainbow as a reminder that He will never flood the earth again. For me it will be a reminder of His faithfulness helping me up and down Gorham, but also a reminder never to do it again. 🙂
(Although it can’t be seen here, there were three bands to this rainbow. Quite often in scripture, God will repeat a command or word three times to make sure we don’t miss His message. Consider the point made.)