He started at the Mexican border on April 21, and 2700 miles, 146 days and 5 pairs of shoes later we picked him up in Waterton, Alberta. When he crossed into Canada he became part of a small but elite group of long distant walkers who have walked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Coast Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. He had lived out of a 13.5 pound back pack for 146 days. It contained the necessities: his tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, jacket, stove, and cooking and eating utensils. Sometimes the pack grew to 35 pounds when it was restocked with food and water.

I was curious and so I asked what all of you would ask. Why? Why would you push yourself to walk 20 or 30 miles a day, sometimes thirsty and hungry? Why would you want to sleep under the stars 1200 feet above sea level? What did you learn? Would you do it again?

Some of the answers you would expect. The challenge. Can I do it? Will I be able to make the right decisions each day? But there was another answer, too.

In real life we shield ourselves from the elements and many times from the creator. On a long hike everything is stripped away. It is down to the bare essentials. I am in the elements, close to creation and the creator. I am continually in the moment, traveling to a destination along what are often unmarked trails, guided by maps, at times a GPS, and faith. I am dependent not only on my own skills, but on Him. God is very real to me, and the mountains, desert and valleys are my cathedral in which to worship.

May all of us live in the moment and find ways to experience and worship Him.

(You can see Jim’s website which includes pictures and his trail journal at boatmanwalking.com)

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