Monday, September 15, 2008

Confident or Concerned?

We got caught totally unprepared for the cold or the snow. It was spring break in the early 70’s and my favorite spot to camp by the hot springs had been taken over by the post hippie/free love crowd. When I was a teen this area was at the bottom of a canyon beyond the reach of most day campers. The US Forestry Service changed all that building a road and trails that made it easily accessible to just about anyone. The springs were about ½ mile from the end of the road, secluded enough for ample warning should the Law show up. Literally dozens if not hundreds of naked people would wander the area, doing whatever it was they did. Obviously this was no longer an area to take my junior high boys on their first backpack/camping weekend. We moved our camp about 8-10 mile up the canyon, far away from any crowds. The first part of the trip was prefect. The sponsors/parents drove us about 20 miles on the dirt roads and dropped off about 20 of us at the top of a really steep canyon. The plan was to spend some time fishing in the creek and then hike the 12 miles out on the last day and be picked up at the mouth of the canyon below the Deep Creek Dam. (If memory serves correct, this is the same area Warnke tells of satanic worship and the occult activities occuring in his book Satan Sellers. The more vivid parts of the book were later recanted I believe). Things were going perfectly. The fish rarely saw anyone and would bite on anything. With one pool of over 500 trout we easily caught more than we could eat. The boys played some in the frigid snow runoff filled stream until they were numb, stood by the fire until they were hot and did it all over again. The weather was beautiful…until a freak storm moved in. NO one saw it coming. As night fell, the temperatures fell and it began to spit snow. We were nearly 20 miles from the nearest anything and NO transportation except our feet. I had walked the trail before and knew it would be to dangerous to try the multiple stream crossings and steep/narrow trail that followed the gorge out. The only reasonable choice was to hunker down and wait it out, however long it took. None of the boys had cold weather gear and their light sleeping bags were better suited for a slumber party than a snow camp. I knew the best heat was body heat so I had all the boys pair off, two to a sleeping bag. I covered them with the second bag and then wrapped them in blue tarps or plastic to ward off the snow.. NO ONE hesitated. They were that cold and I think they knew it was to serious not to follow instructions. After securing all the boys against the wind and snow I dug a shallow pit in the sand, climbed into my sleeping bag and buried myself in about 4 in of sand. I didn’t have a good bag either and I was the odd man. The boys were restless but warm all night. They even slept some. The storm passed during the night and a very light dusting of snow was on the ground. At the first hint of light, some of the more adventuresome boys climbed out of their bags and rekindled the fire. Did you ever wonder what a chicken turning on a spit feels like? They built that fire so big the flames were going 15 feet in the air. What ever part of you that faced the fire would roast and the side away from the fire would freezer burn. By mid morning the sun had reached us on the canyon floor and things were back to normal. I hadn’t thought much about it that night but I began to wonder if the storm had reached the valley where the parents of these boys lived, maybe 30 miles away. I had no way of knowing. We just packed up and began the hike down the canyon. With the exception of passing a few dozen stark naked people at the hot springs, the trip out was uneventful. I knew the trails well enough to guide us several hundred yards above the springs. They were naked, that was for sure, but back in those long haired days, it was impossible to tell gender from that distance.

The storm had reached the valley floor the night before and my wife got plenty of frantic calls. The parents knew the boys did not have the equipment to handle the cold. I don’t know exactly what Deanna told them but her confidence in my ability to protect the boys was enough. There was not a thing they could have done. They could not have gotten to us if they tried. If the parents were over anxious, you would never have known it when they met us. The boys were ok and the storm became just part of the adventure. I was not worried, I knew what to do and Deanna had the confidence in me to share with the parents so no one overstressed.

Do you have a loved one you are concerned about right now? They may be caught up in a storm of life and you cannot help. Are you cringing in fear for them or are you confident? I guess you can worry all you want if you think it will help but Paul encourages us with this:

Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Your loved one may be in a storm, but Jesus will be there with them.


Doni Brinkman said...

Dad you are such a trouble magnet. :) I see that you at least tried to avoid the naked hippies by camping 12 miles away but why exactly did you pick an area used for satanic worship? LOL. Assuming that came up after the fact? Seriously I think people should just pack for emergencies when they go anywhere with a Zimmermann. It is never "if" disaster strikes - it is "when".

Don Z said...

I had a .38 on my hip, a Bible in my pack and the Lord on my side, what else could I possibly need? The satanic stuff came up later, I jsutthought they were wierd people, plus it was impossible for them to carry a consealed weapon!

jolleyzoo said...

You two make me laugh. No doubt you are father and daughter.

Laurie said...

That was just what I needed this morning. Thanks!