It was supposed to be a safe and easy overnight backpacking trip near Pickett State Park. I had gotten a map and trail guide, and my hiking partner Randy was going with me. It all seemed pretty straight forward, until we hit the trailhead.
There we saw a notice informing us that a part of the trail had been destroyed by a mudslide. Randy went back and got some verbal instructions on how to navigate around it from the park ranger. These included directions on following power lines, jeep roads, and finally getting back on the trail.
Again, it was all easy sailing until we got to the jeep road. Other roads kept forking off, and trees were down all over the one we were on. As we got further out into the wilderness, I began to feel the anxiety creep in. Where were we? And where was the trail? I had to lean on Randy then who was confident that we could figure this out.
We finally did hit a trail. But momentary relief gave way to danger as we found ourselves on a trail that dropped off a cliff side. Randy and I both fell on it, tripping at the same spot. And at the bottom, the trail signage only confused us further. After looking at maps and even talking with another hiker, we still had no idea where we were.
I had real anxiety about continuing with only a little sunlight left. So we decided to camp by the stream there for the evening. Randy was sure we could find our way out the next day.
After a hearty dinner and a good night’s sleep, we broke camp and backtracked up the cliff
side again to find a trail we had missed. This time Randy got anxious about where we were headed because it didn’t make much sense with the map we were given. But now I was the one who felt confident about where we were going. And this time, he just relied on me. And sure enough, we finally hit the right trail to get us back.
On the last part of the hike that day, we conversed about how we had helped each other face anxiety and fear during the trip, and how we leaned on each other at various points. And then I realized something. This is a mark of true brotherhood.
So, who are the real brothers in your life? Who is helping you push through fear?