Hiking the 2,168-mile long Appalachian Trail may seem more like a test of physical endurance than a spiritual journey. But for Regie and Brenda Price, it was both.
The Prices, members of Faith Lutheran Church, West Columbia, S.C., completed hiking the trail last summer after 17 years. They say the experience brought them closer to God.
The journey began in 1984 when Regie and Brenda began taking Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops through parts of the trail in Georgia. When those troop members grew up, the couple continued hiking with a goal of 100 miles a year.
The Prices say hiking taught them many spiritual lessons. They realized on the trail that "things" aren't important. Things have weight, so you do without as many things as possible to lighten your load. The same thing applies to our spiritual walk with God.
Brenda says the White Mountains in New Hampshire were the most difficult part of the adventure, due to rocky trails and rugged terrain.
Managing the difficulties of the trail helped Regie and Brenda to more fully depend on God. "On the trail, you hardly walk 100 yards before you realize that God is how you get through each task in life," Regie says. "Weather changes constantly. You may be dressed in shirtsleeves in the morning, but by evening you are dealing with snow. You rely on your resources and God to protect you and guide you."
During the long periods of hiking, there was time for solitude, even though Regie and Brenda were only a few yards from each other. As the Prices neared the end of their journey, Regie composed a prayer:
"Dear Lord, we pause for a prayer of thanksgiving as we near the completion of this great adventure. Thank you for the strong mind, heart and legs, which it took for this journey. Thank you for those who supported us on the trail and at home. Thank you for my loyal hiking partner and best friend, Brenda. As we complete this adventure, we ask that you reveal to us a way that we might use this experience to show others your love for us. May our trip lead others to your kingdom."
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers