Max Patch

Max Patch Trip Report (#22191)

  • Signed By: Larry
  • Date submitted: June 28, 2011
  • Date(s) climbed: June 22, 2011
  • Number of People Encountered:0-10 people
  • Recommend to a Friend: Highly

Max Patch

Last week I spent a few days on the Appalachian Trail with some friends. Most days were very tiring for me as I hiked carrying more weight than necessary; not being conditioned for the long, steep inclines; experiencing torrential rain and thunderstorms (which made my backpack heavier); and not sleeping well. As one member of our group repeated as her mantra, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Our hiking expedition doesn’t sound very attractive or fun, huh?

Quite the contrary, however.

The week provided an opportunity to make a couple of new friends and renew/enhance my relationship with others. Also, there were some places on the trail – when sunshine and clear skies defeated the thunderous rain – where views became spiritual experiences.

That was especially true when we concluded a day’s hike that included torrential rain and climbed in sunshine to Max Patch, a wide summit on a mountain at 4,629 feet. It afforded us a panoramic 360 degree view of the Smokies to the south and an unmatched viewing of Mt. Mitchell to the east. And, to the west and north there were mountains, mountains, and more mountains! Many visitors drive to Max Patch (using a forestry road) and enjoy a short hike to its top. But, for the six of us – we earned our view by hiking through rain, mud, and upward slopes.

Because our camping site was nearby, we set up camp, and walked back to the top of this spectacular mountain with plenty of time for rest and relaxation. The sun came out and it became warm, providing more than enough heat to dry out our wet clothes and gear. A friend and I walked to a place and laid down on the grass to rest and enjoy the sun’s warmth and the surrounding beauty. While we talked, more than once, my thoughts turned to God and His creation. In my inner self I mused, “A difficult day had become a very blessed one.”

Life is a lot like that part of our hike. Good experiences often follow difficult and exhausting times. I’m sure you’ve experience this spiritual phenomenon, too. We sometimes call it, “light at the end of a tunnel.” It’s the payback for enduring tough times. Whatever it is, or whatever we call it – overcoming adversity makes us stronger and life more enjoyable. Philippians 4:13 attests that we can do it.

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