I’m already starting to forget.
Thanks to Margaret Feinberg’s Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God, I learned about the West Highland Way. I revisited the book, and her testimony of experiencing God on the trail, just a few weeks before Jay and I tackled the trail ourselves.
The first day, we encountered this scene. Perfect, exactly as she had described it. Precisely as I wanted it to be.
At some point, my feet grew tired. My legs became weary. But at first, even that was part of the beauty of the trail.
Then, we started encountering real obstacles. Large, loose rocks, causing pain going far beyond muscle soreness.
Today, I thought I’d give the testimony of my experience of the West Highland Way, but I’m already starting to forget. Instead, I’m going to share a post from my personal Facebook page on our third day of the hike.
This is the day I took a wrong turn, added an hour to our hike, we didn’t get a lunch break because of a monsoon, and I consider sacrificing myself to the midgies. Feinberg and I traveled the same path but had different accounts.
Our stories don’t have to match. Some people experience life differently than others. That’s okay.
I loved my trip, and I am grateful everything didn’t go smoothly. I’m already starting to forget, but the pain of the trail helped me to create memories of the experience.
Day 3 – 40 Miles total done, 14 for the day
Our inn in Rowardennan sits right on Loch Lomond and the trail, so we wasted no steps getting back at it this morning. For some unknown reason, I’m the keeper of the maps. We’d decided to take the upper route because the lower is more difficult and adds at least an hour travel time. How a reasonably intelligent person can be so bad at reading maps, I don’t know.
Jay was gracious, and we enjoyed a break from the road and walking over terrain more like the hikes we’re used to.
We stopped at the midpoint for lunch but barely got our food out when a downpour moved us on more quickly than I would have liked.
My genius with the map is only matched by my ability to walk upright. Whilst walking, I consulted the map (photo on my phone), only to trip, crack my phone and bust my knee on a tree root. Since ice is rarer than gold in these parts, I’m not sure how they treat injuries.
Our inn for the night came into our sight just under 2 miles away. My body was DONE, but I had the visual encouragement to just keep pushing. And now I’m filling my belly with fish and chips as I write this up at a Scottish Inn dating to 1705. So I think I made a wise choice not giving up and sacrificing myself to the midgies.