We looked forward to the day together. Taking our time. The goal? A seven-mile hike that would take about three hours.
After about ten minutes on the trail, we met Miriam. A single gal walking by herself. A tech person from Palo Alto. She’d completed some of the more challenging hikes in the Northwest.
We got to talking.
It was slow at first. John and I had wanted to be alone. But this was a chance to make a friend.
We walked a ways, up and down. There was a 1,200 foot change in elevation that was noticeable. The ups were tough at times. The air was clean. Breathing became a challenge and a joy, all at the same time.
A little further along the way, we met Holly and Chuck. She’s a nurse at a local hospital. He’s a retired fireman and paramedic who now teaches courses in safety and cardiac help.
We got to talking.
Before long, we were well into the hike, feeling like we were with old friends. Encouraging each other when we slipped. Talking about things important to us,. Sharing a bit about family. Trail talk.
We were about a mile from the bottom of the trail. Having suffered through the up, the descent was treacherous because they’d resurfaced the trail. It canted towards the steep decline to the bottom of the park. We were slipping and sliding but thinking we could all do this.
Until Miriam slipped, rolled and got caught on a tree.
We were incredibly grateful that she was able to stop where she did. It could have been so much worse.
As it was, we all heard the pop. Whether it was her ankle or a branch, no one could tell. She couldn’t put weight on it, so we all went into family mode.
Our nurse and paramedic carried more stuff with them than I could have imagined. Splints, tape, a bullhorn to let others know where we were. They got to work on Miriam and got her ankle stable and her settled on the steep trail. John had the best reception, and he got ahold of the local rangers who sent help.With a plethora of words, I could keep her from focusing on her pain.
It took about an hour, but four guys from the local fire house came with a contraption to carry Miriam down to their waiting truck. We followed behind, grateful she could be helped.
All we could talk about was how we’d been together when this happened.
It takes a village, right?
How often do I miss that?
I need to care enough about someone else to be willing to engage. Even when it’s not what I expected or wanted. God created us for community. To be able to rely on each other. To know that when we slip in life, we’re not alone. God provides the hands of those around us to lift us up. To carry us.
Five very different people brought together by a path.
You never know when those around you could be the difference between hanging on and losing your grip completely.