A trip to a favorite park is always uplifting for my spirit. We returned to Red Rocks Canyon Park in Colorado Springs in early March 2020, and started up Hogback Valley on a Friday morning. We knew there would be few people, but there was a new sign:
- Trail is MUDDY.
- Walk through the Mud.
- Do not make new Trails
- Damage to the area must be avoided!
Can it be that bad? Days of sunshine had followed a deep snow, and it had been a warm and windy week. It was. That. Muddy. By the first thirty minutes, we had been unable to avoid the boot-sucking mud on the trail. The dog’s paws were splayed out, and I had slipped several times. We picked our way along the edge of the path and onto grassy areas where we were not supposed to hike. The new trails were packed down one to two feet away from the impassable trail by previous travelers.
Going up the valley was going away from drainage, and was better for hiking the higher we climbed. But…. What goes up…. Coming down, the trail down was non-existent with mud and snowmelt. This trail normally takes about one hour and fifteen minutes. This time, it took almost two hours because of our slow, careful treading. The one thing we have more of now is time.
I remember the sign and what it says to the crazy times we live in. The trail is muddy, and we cannot avoid the mud, but we will get back on our shared path as soon as we possibly can. We can take the Lion Trail.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalms 40:2
Walk Through the Mud: We could not walk through the mud because it would suck off our shoes. We slipped and almost fell, and must turn around if we did not go through the mud.
Do Not Make New Trails: We could not pretend there was not a different path. We took the new path of grass to avoid the water, and then returned as soon as possible to the mud.
Damage to the Trail must be avoided: We were damaged as our feet and ankles hurt from the muddy walk. The trail will recover, but it will take time.
But we were alive and things could be cleaned and brought back to normal: clothes, shoes, and of course, the dog. The dog was red from his feet to his belly and loved the adventure.
Keep walking. It will protect your sanity and be good for you. Walk through the muddy times, make a new trail if you must, and get back into the trail of life. It will get better. It will be a new normal. Stand firm. Enjoy the hike!