So we bought a book about hiking. It was a Christmas present one year. I really can’t remember which one of us bought it. It is called 50 Hikes in Western Pennsylvania or something sexy like that. It has maps and geological symbols and longitude and latitude degrees. Tom loves it. I was looking for the listing called “nearby restaurants” in the index. Strangely, it is not there.
And the goal was to do all 50 hikes in one year. One hike each weekend. It’s been maybe five years now and we’ve actually visited most of the hikes in book. But the greatest thing was that we were using the guide book together to plan for future hikes. We would talk and compare and decide together. Sound’s easy right? Really? If you are married and have a pulse, then you know that planning anything as a couple can be the most challenging part! Tom likes to hike uphill and I like to hike downhill and wait at the bottom for the car to come and get me. Tom likes “rally course” hikes (one big circle) and I like destination hikes (hike out to a scenic point, eat lunch, then return on the same path). We’ve learned to embrace our differences. Laying down our “will” builds trust and respect. I’ve found that opening up to Tom’s preferences has taken me to destinations I would have never experienced (I’m still talking about hiking here…). Letting others lead is humbling but good practice for a Christian!
Within the cryptic pages of the 50 Hikes book, Tom found a real gem that will satisfy any hiker. Laurel Summit’s Wolf Rocks Trail. I guess I don’t have to tell you that it is in Western Pa…the book title, remember. This is the most beautiful place we’ve ever hiked. (But I have not yet been to Hawaii.) It is a lush green mossy jungle of rhododendron, mountain laurel and pine trees. It looks like Narnia, smells like Christmas, and blooms from July to October. The destination is a Heritage Point type of outcropping of rock that overlooks a big wide panorama of forest. After visiting a few times we realized that one of the rocks looks like a wolf…Wolf Rocks…we are learning to pay attention to that kind of stuff. Names usually mean something. While the joy of this hike is certainly “in the journey,” the destination is stunning. As you make your way toward your heavenly destination as a couple, remember to let the journey take your breath away. Plan it together and allow your differences to take you to places you’d never go alone.
Just a few hike details: This one is worth the drive up into the Laurel Highlands. It is a fairly flat hike but physically demanding because it’s very rocky and uneven. Bring a sweater—even in August. Just down the road behind the parking lot is a real live bog complete with carnivorous plants and wild cranberry bushes. There is a picnic area at the entrance that is inconveniently located downwind of the outhouse.