Translation: Welcome to the highest point of Honduras!
This photo is evidence of the fact that I hiked right to the top of Mount Celaque in Parque Nacional Montana de Celaque. This week is Semana Santa - Holy Week - which is an extended holiday here in Honduras. And so, I drove with Rachel, the youth director at UPH, and two other friends to the small mountain village of Gracias on Monday morning with the intent of reaching the top of Mount Celaque! It was truly an incredible journey - and probably the most difficult 7.43 kilometres that I have ever walked in my life!
Here are some pictures from the trip, starting off with some pictures of Gracias, the town at the base of Mount Celaque where we stayed on Monday night.
Walking towards the cathedral.
The beginnings of a tormenta (storm) in the central park of Gracias.
Tormenta! Although rain is unusual at this time of year, it rained on Monday night and also all night on Tuesday - while we were camping on the mountain.
We left our hotel at 6am on Tuesday morning to make sure that we would have enough time to reach the summit of Mount Celaque and set up camp before nightfall. The picture above is of me a couple hours into the hike.
The forest was absolutely beautiful! I don't think I have ever taken so many pictures of foliage alone...and in the end cameras simply cannot capture the beauty of all that we saw!
Finally, at around 4pm we made it to the top of Mount Celaque!
Here are the girls of the group, myself and Rachel.
And here are the guys, Jorge and Adelson.
Here is the "view" from the top. As you can tell, the rain clouds were coming in quickly! We had a wet night, although Rachel was able to make a fire strong enough to make pasta and roast a delicious assortment of vegetables.
Rachel and I posing on a rock wall along the trail - just as the wall where we were sitting began to collapse!
I tend to think about worse case scenarios when I hike. For example, what should I do if I am attacked by a jaguar? Or what should I do if my legs cease to move after the next step and I need to spend the night alone on the trail, just myself, the jaguars and pumas and who knows what kind of insects? Or what do we do if we take a wrong turn and the trail is not to be trusted?
I think that following God can bring with it the same kind of ambiguities. Sometimes the trail isn't exactly clear ahead of us, and sometimes the dangers and struggles can seem to outweigh the potential goodness. However, we need to trust that putting one foot ahead of another will take us to the end destination, and the destination is worth every bit of the arduous journey.
Just a few of my thoughts from the journey!
Anyways, I hope that you all have a blessed Semana Santa this week, with plenty of opportunities to reflect on Christ and the journey He is leading us on.