Tuesday, August 3, 2010
A Walk in the Clouds
Yesterday, I took a walk in the clouds. This journey through mist was on the La Luz trail to Sandia Crest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This 4,000 foot climb is a spectacular hike through three different life zones and six different climate zones.
As I started the hike at 6,500 feet in elevation, I could see the clouds high above, looking like a waterfall spilling over the summit. When I reached about 9,000 feet I was in the clouds.
Walking in clouds, especially on mountains, is an other-worldly experience. You feel as if you are alone in the mist. This cloud enshrouded mountain called to mind Moses on Mount Sinai and Jesus, Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. In the Bible, clouds are associated with theophanies (direct encounters with God-- in Greek this word literally means "God light").
I definitely wasn't alone on the La Luz trail. Some 400 runners ascended this trail in an annual race just minutes ahead of me. The fastest runners finished in an hour and a half. Somehow, I feel that they missed the amazing vistas and joy of walking in the clouds. I took this hike slowly, savoring each view of the dramatic rock spires poking through the mist.
Although I didn't have a theophany, I did experience a connection with the Sacred and Holy dimension of life on my hike. I reached the summit, still enshrouded in thick clouds, filled with gratitude for the awesomeness of God's creation.