On this final day of 2016, I finished out my last three miles in the New River Gorge 100 Mile Challenge. Huzzah!
Hiking a hundred miles in a year isn't super remarkable (some hikers completed the challenge in January already!), but I encountered plenty of obstacles through the year; the "Challenge" lived up to its name. That just makes the accomplishment all the sweeter.
In all, I hiked 29 times on 19 trails in the New River Gorge of West Virginia. Usually I was alone but sometimes had companions join me (shout out to Janetta, the most frequent). I was fascinated by the abandoned coal mines and structures along many of the trails, and also by the flora and fauna—not to mention the River itself, always beside me. But mostly I just soaked up the quiet communion with God, the clean air, the rhythm of walking—heart pumping, lungs pumping, legs pumping. Thank you, Father, for the strength to experience this great, good world of yours.
How to celebrate 100 miles hiked, as one year closes and another dawns? Reading Psalm 100 seemed appropriate, there on windy Long Point today. The Shepherd is faithful through all generations. Serve him with gladness. Happy New Year!
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (NIV)