At one time in my life, I was living in Anchorage, Alaska. On one of the first things I asked about after moving in was what a new person in Anchorage so do with his time off. A regular comment was “climb Flattop.” Climb? Flattop? Being from below sea level New Orleans where “Monkey Hill” in Audubon Park or the levees are about the only climbing one does, I was a bit skeptical. But everyone I asked said it was quite doable with a good set of hiking shoes. I put it off a few months but I eventually set off when I had a break in my schedule.
Flattop is a designated park area and had a good size parking lot. There was a map at the base to show you the way up. It was high up but lots of people were climbing that day. I thought, “If they can do it, so can I.” And so, along with a number of other folks with the same plans, I set off with a camera, a canteen full of water, and a backpack.
The climb took me, if I remember right, a little over two hours. And the view when I got up there was very much worth it. Anchorage and the Cooke Inlet were a sight to see at this altitude. It was interesting seeing birds (including eagles) flying from above rather than below. I stayed for about thirty minutes but headed back down before it would get dark.
The biggest surprise of the day though was that climbing down proved much more difficult than climbing up. Trying to balance the camera, the canteen, my backpack and also maintain my footing was very hard. I ended up going rolling down the mountain three different times. I looked a bit different when I got to the bottom. Still, I was glad I made the climb.
Do you find life is like that sometimes? Getting somewhere sounds good, and in the end you might be very glad you got there, but sometimes it is more challenging than it looks and sometimes the challenges come in unexpected ways.
The great thing is the Lord is there with us through it all. And God puts kind souls in our midst to help us. That day, more than a few hikers helped me back to my feet after I had rolled down a bit of mountain. I see the same thing happening through so many challenges of life.
Until next time,