I am quickly coming to the conclusion that hiking is not nearly as enjoyable in the summer as it is the rest of the year. In the fall and spring, I love nothing more than to hike a trail to a remote waterfall or follow along beside a babbling brook. I love to sit and bask in the sunshine as I rest and listen to the water's peaceful flow. It is a tranquility like nothing else.
In the winter, even though the weather is cool, it is perfect for those strenuous climbs where I find myself shedding layer after layer until I'm finally down to my t-shirt. And even though the scenery is not as vibrant, there is a certain beauty in the quiet woods that are rest.
Hiking in the summer is a different story entirely. It's HOT!!! The grass, weeds, and briers are in abundance and love nothing better than to grab at my legs. The bears are out of their slumber (thankfully, I haven't seen any of them yet). The snakes are slithering around, hissing at any who dare pass by (unfortunately, I've seen plenty of these). Every other step I take, I find myself wrapped up in a sticky spiderweb. And then, there's the bugs. Let me tell you, there is not an insect repellent on earth that will keep gnats out of your face. They fly in my eyes, my mouth, my nose, my ears, and anywhere else they can find. And if that weren't bad enough, the mosquitoes bite, the ticks grab hold, and the bees sting. Trust me, I've experienced them all this summer. So, with all these annoyances and irritations, I find that hiking in the summer is just not very enjoyable at all.
You know, life, too, has seasons. There are seasons full of beauty and tranquility. However, there are also seasons full of irritations and obstacles that sap the joy out of the journey. During these times, it is important to focus on the good times of the journey and to know that seasons of peace and joy are right around the corner if only we will remain faithful. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's discouraging. But, it is worth it. We can't give up on the journey just because of a tough season. Think of all the blessings we'll miss when those good seasons roll in again.
So, put on your sunscreen and your insect repellent. Fill up the water bottles, and let's keep hiking! As for snakes, I've found that they really seem to be more scared of me than I am of them. Go figure!