Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Nothing to see here, folks ... not!

Clingman’s Dome, at an elevation of 6630 feet, is the second highest point east of the Mississippi River and the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is accessible via a 7-mile drive and then a half mile hike.

A tourist’s guide I bought for this trip described the hike as “about as rigorous as a trip to Macy’s.” I don’t know where the author does his shopping, but that hike was definitely no stroll through the mall. The half mile path rises several hundred feet on the way to the top of the Dome. The steep climb combined with the thin mountain air made for a very challenging hike.

I passed a number of people descending from the top as I made my way up. One woman, seeing my tripod and large camera bag as we passed, said, “You’re not going to get any good pictures tonight. The clouds have moved over the Dome.”

I thanked her for her tip and continued my climb. Having photographed the outdoors for a decade, I’ve learned that all weather is subject to rapid change without notice, and I hadn’t driven and climbed more than a mile into the air to turn back now. I would take my chances.

Thick clouds indeed covered the dome when I arrived at the top, but they were moving, which was a good sign. After a few minutes, they had cleared enough for me to get the photo above. Before long, the clouds had nearly completely cleared out, and I shot two rolls of film while watching the sun set over the mountains.

Having had time to reflect on this experience, I can relate the woman’s point of view and my own to that of having faith (or the lack thereof). The woman saw the circumstances and could see no further, and decided to leave the mountain. I believed there were possibilities in spite of the circumstances and continued my climb. I saw the sunset. She did not.

Some people will see difficulties and wonder where God is. Others will recognize that He is there and forge ahead, confident that He will hold to the promises He has given in the Bible to be present and caring at all times.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Click on photo for an enlarged view. Copyright 2005 James Jordan Posted by Picasa

This blog was down for a couple of days due to computer problems. They're still not completely solved, but I'm getting there. You can see previous photos I've posted of the Smoky Mountain region here and here.


Just Wandering said...

See anyone hiking from GA-ME? For them (and for me last summer) it is the highest point on the 2100 mile trail. Exciting stuff!

Brian said...

I'm glad that you forged ahead and were able to share this. Wonderful collections of photos you have here.