Two months ago I hiked up to a mountain lake.
There are 2 paths you can take to get there....
The "Easy Trail" and The "Difficult".
I have always like the Difficult route.
It's full of narrow walkways,
a wooden/rock stairway, trickling springs that flow over the trail in places....
it's definitely the more beautiful of the 2 paths.
The scenery as you climb is magnificent.
It takes your breath away, and not just because of the steep ascent.
On this particular hike, I was followed on the Difficult route
~(and sometimes passed)~
by 2 elderly people.
One walked with 2 canes, the other with a considerable limp.
I wanted to turn at times and offer my assistance across the streams of water and slippery rocks-
but something stopped me.
I was truly amazed by this seemingly persistent couple.
When I finally arrived at this particular lake ~ I stopped beside it and took (of course),
countless picture from every angle I could of everything I could see.
I turned to find the same couple resting on a bench, just watching everything going on around them.
They seemed quiet yet happy, and I couldn't help but take a few steps towards them and make some remark of how beautiful it all was.
This began an incredible conversation. One I won't soon forget.
To sum up the heart of our chat,
they had been married for 50+ years and had hiked up to this lake every year they'd been together.
And they didn't just come in the fairer months of the summer.
Winter was just as beautiful they said.
And then the woman stated,
"This will be our last climb here.
We have gotten to the point where it's to difficult for us to make this journey like we have been.
But we wanted to take it just one more time.
I tried to hide the tears from my eyes.
Something hit me in that moment.
My imagination created the past 50 years of this couple,
coming together and walking this trail year after year.
Summer or winter- they came.
Year after year- through whatever the season, they hiked the trail to this spot.
And there I was,
actually sharing their moment with them surrounded by incredible beauty they were seeing for the last time.
I felt humbled. And honored.
And wanted to let them be.
But they were ever so gracious and continued to chat, asking me questions and sharing information about this mountain and its trails.
I felt so blessed to be part of their moment.
I have hiked this trail several times over the years.
Never in the winter.
Although I now plan to during this one.
For some reason their story touched me in a way I can't explain.
Maybe it was their commitment to the trail and mountain.
~Their commitment to one another.~
Their persistence that I saw while they struggled up the trail.
Their love for a place I love.
I'm not sure just quite what it is.
I do know that I will never think of this trail in quite the same way.
Their life has somehow been etched into my heart through all the beauty which lies up there.
I just wish and hope, that the next time I go....maybe,
they will have decided they were able to take that trail just one more time.