Day 1 started in the evening, where we met at the trailhead for a gear shakedown. When we registered for the trip we were given a gear list. If there was a piece of gear we were missing, the organizers made sure they knew in advance so they could bring something to lend us for the trip. Thus the first step of our trip was to make sure everyone had everything they needed prior to heading out the door. Food (provided by the organizers) and group gear was also distributed among the hikers to help share the load. We were also given a booklet with an outline of the spiritual meditations we would be following during the trip, with a few extra pages at the front and back for journalling.
We finally got out the door just before 9 pm. I knew in advance that this trip was going to be interesting, considering that we were going to be starting late. Otherwise, I had no idea what to expect.
In all, we hiked for 2.5 hours to get to the first cabin. We had two stops along the way: the first was a brief time of sharing where we partnered with someone to talk about what we were hoping to get out of the pilgrimage. The second stop happened at a summit with a night view of the valley below with lights off in the distance. It was beautiful, but a bit chilly and everyone was getting tired. At this stop we did a scripture reading and visualization exercise. The section of scripture we read was where Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane - the one where his disciples kept falling asleep while he went off to pray. The setting fit very well with the "spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" pieces we read.
In all it was a very well done, and I really gained an appreciate for the possibilities of how adding a physical experience to the reading of the bible could open up new meaning and understanding.
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