Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tender Mercies

A few weeks ago (June 18th), I had the opportunity to hike Mt Humphreys with Tanner, my brother Shad, and my nephew Riley.  I had talked about doing this hike several times over the past few years but had never actually gotten it done so I was grateful that my brother Shad invited me to come along.  I really love the outdoors and this hike was a reminder of how much I have missed backpacking the past couple years.  We left Mesa at 6 am so we could get to the trialhead in Flagstaff at a decent time and begin hiking.  I think we started hiking around 9:30.  The weather was perfect - a little cool but not cold.
Here are Tanner and I at the trail head - 9.6 miles round trip with a beginning elevation of 9,300 and ending at the summit with an elevation of 12,633.

Tanner and his cousin Riley taking a water break along the trail.

My brother Shad on the trail.  Still lots of snow but very little actually on the trail.

The views were beautiful!

Here we are after reaching the saddle.  It was very windy and the temperature was cooler thus the additional layer of clothing.

Here are Tanner and I after reaching the summit.  We sat down behind some wind breaks, ate some food and water, and enjoyed the fantastic 360 degree views.  We spent about 30 minutes at the summit before heading back down the trail.

Although downhill, the hike back to the trail head was challenging and required you to pay attention to all the rocks and tree roots in the trail.  At one point, our group got off the main trail.  As we made our way back to the trail, we had to descend a steep area that was covered in loose rocks and sand.  My footing slipped and I reached my hands back to catch myself.  In the process, the back of my head smacked a large boulder.  As I sat down on the ground with my head spinning, blood began to run over my head.  My brother began to get out his first aid kit when up the mountain came another hiker.  He came upon us within a minute of the accident and he immediately started to assess the situation.  None of us had seen this guy before so my brother started to question him by asking if he was a doctor.  He said that he was a nurse and that he was a volunteer with the forest service.  He and my brother cleaned the wound on my head, applied pressure to stop the bleeding, and bandaged it so I could continue down the mountain.

Later as I pondered about this experience, I felt very blessed that my brother had packed an excellent first aid kit and that a skilled nurse had happened upon us almost immediately.  This experienced reminded me once again of the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father and how He is constantly aware of me and my needs.  Although my injuries were minor, I was watched over and my needs were met allowing me to continue on my hike and enjoy the day with my family.  This has happened repeatedly during the course of my life.  I feel like the Jaredites did as recorded in Ether 6:12 - "...And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them."