It was a late starting Sunday morning. We drank our coffee while curled up in our blankets, just barely feeling the cogs in our brains begin to whirl, although the sun was out and shining brightly. I made my way through a late breakfast, and dressed for a hike.
We had a previous engagement with our neighbors to hike the mountain ridge that overlooks the Goroka valley, the beautiful, misty place that has become my home.
After a few minutes rush, we were safely out of the house and in the van, following the Schadegg’s along the switchback road up the mountain. Laughter erupted from behind my ear, as Sarah and Jael had banished Daniel to the other vehicle with Timon and claimed the rear seat as their own.
We reached our trail, and I looked with slight dismay upon the prospect before me. It was indeed rainy season, as the gooey, rutted mess before me proclaimed.
My relief was great when it appeared that it was not to continue, and the swamp disappeared higher up.
We topped our first viewpoint. I gazed out on the breathtaking scene. Far out on either side the valley stretched, while directly in front and across proudly stood the opposing wall of rolling ridges.
I couldn’t help but contrasting this vast openness with the confining walls of our town compound. How little I’d realized how it had affected me, until, standing here upon the peak with the wind blowing in my hair, I felt my spirit rise. How is it that mountains always affect one so?
We took a small break, enjoyed Mahela’s Schadegg’s amazing dried mango slices, and after a small consultation, decided to continue forward.
The trail then led into the forests, which I was thrilled about. It felt like the many family hikes we had taken back in Mom and Dad’s home country of the Appalachian mountains. I even found acorns, definitely a childhood memory, as they are not to be found in the pine forests of Idaho.
Strolling through a forest, there’s many things to notice: two butterflies dancing, a lizard scurrying across the path, or the beautiful moss decorating an old fence.
I often strayed behind, glued behind the camera. Everything was fascinating to me. However, the children eventually needed another break, and we stopped to rest and decide whether the try for the last viewpoint. Mahela smiled and joked, “It’s just around the next bend!” …to the groans of the kids.
I was so glad we had continued to go on, once I stood looking down on the valley. We surveyed our hard-earned view, and the kids picked out places like their school and the airstrip. A nearby cell tower even allowed us to show it to our grandparents on the other side of the Pacific!
However, approaching rain threatened to crash our party, so we started back down the slopes. It caught us near the bottom, and I carefully placed each step upon the slippery red clay. Daniel, less fortunate, slipped and landed on his backside right in the goop. With the rain drizzling down around him, he presented quite the pitiful picture. But the car was close at hand, and we soon reached the end of the trail.
Stripping ourselves of muddy boots, we tumbled into the car. I had felt as if I could have climber another mile, but exhaustion crept up as I slumped in my seat. Safely back home, I ended up where I had started: wrapped up in a blanket with coffee.