Hiking Enchanted Rock in the middle of Texas 20 miles north of Fredericksburg, was one to remember. Sustained winds of 30 plus miles per hour with gusts of 40-50 miles per hour buffeted us in every direction as we climbed 1,843 feet in 0.8 miles with no trees to shield us from the onslaught. It was cold. In March. In Texas.
The last time I hiked this trail was 37 years ago. I feel the memory of the view and my different life. This time, I hiked with my husband and my best friend and her husband for my 65th birthday. It was time to show them where to scatter some of my ashes when I die. They picked a grove of trees at the beginning of the trail as something they could get to in thirty years! A sweet sentiment of us aging into our 60s.
At two points in the climb I had to stop and pray. I remained very still and struggled against my mind telling me, “Give up, you are too old to do this, and this is dangerous.” I stood still and took another step. And then another. Back on track to the top, I was climbing in the relentless pounding wind. Never have I understood the scripture phrase, “Buffeted on every side.” I felt that verse as the winds came at me from every direction.
Finally, we reached a summit and hoped that it was not a “false summit.” We lay down in a small indented space in the rock to get a break from trying to stand against this onslaught of air. I prayed, “God let me have two minutes of peace and grant that I remember that You control the winds and the waves.” It lessened. We could talk to each other and take videos and pictures. BLAST. Gusts propel us to leave the top quickly as the wind is getting worse. This had all happened in 30 minutes.
Holding onto my hat with two hands, my walking stick banging my body, I began to descend. When we reached the sign again we stopped for more photos. We did it. Hard to have picked a worse day. I will remember the times I was “out of my body,” conscious of each punishing step, securely guided by the Lover of my Soul. Up and Down Enchanted Rock where part of me will someday blow away.