July 18th, Day 4:
Our boots have been wet since the first day, and I think we are all starting to feel it as we wake up in colder temperatures and slide the soggy things onto our feet each morning. The sky was a dull grey when we got up today, and the rain began to fall early. As we ascended the snow fields on the way up to Point Erickson, our last major marker before summiting Zion, Dane followed alongside the group and told the story of Rumplestiltskin. It was a great distraction as we made our way up wet snow under muted skies. The rhythm of my steps and the ice axe are starting to settle in my mind, and they mark the passing time like a natural metronome. Step, step, axe. Step, step, axe.
We were blessed to get a beautiful, albeit foggy glimpse of the surrounding mountains from Point Erickson, where we huddled together near a rock and awaited the impending rain. Eating our Beyond bars, I sat and laughed with Abbi and Aly. When the rain came, a deeper cold began to settle in on us, and we got up and started moving toward the summit. The rain increased, and a steep drop required that we rappel, which took an exceedingly long time. With the wet starting to penetrate even more, it was clear that body temperatures were dropping. When we stopped on the summit for lunch, socked in by thick fog, I found myself trembling rather uncontrollably. Sarah was doing no better beside me.
We had all carried a rock up the peak from camp this morning, each planning to symbolically let go of something before God by throwing it off the summit. As I sat there shivering, I realized that I not only don't know what to give up, but that my heart is not in a place of surrender. The rock will go home with me, and for today I simply picked up a pebble, and I cast my right to complain about the day off into the thick, white air surrounding Zion.
The trip from summit to camp 4 should have been a short one, but another rappel made the process long. By the time we made it to camp, having stood in the rain for nearly the entire day, Dane, Rob, and Aly told the rest of us to immediately try to get warm and dry in our tents while they made dinner, which they delivered to us. The possibility of being dry is almost lost, but spirits raised immensely inside the tents once bodies started to thaw and food was in our bellies. Aly made good on her promise to join our tent and help keep warm. Nothing like telling pee stories and spooning to bond a group of girls together quickly.
I am realizing the miracle happening under my nose: I have had poor (though not absolutely terrible) sleep for days now, and both mind and body are doing well. God is gracious indeed.