Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


A Celestial Hike

On Saturday, we undertook a daring scheme of mammoth proportions: not one hike, but two, totaling eleven miles of woody trails climbing 3,000 feet closer to the sky. The first hike was a simple 2 ¼ miles, with almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Beacon Rock, as it is called, is the second largest rock in the world, and was first discovered by Lewis and Clark who named it “Beaten Rock.” Like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, we got a small glimpse of the glory we hoped to see from the peak of our next hike. “They could not look steadily through the glass; yet they thought they saw something like the gate, and also some of the glory of the place.”

We snapped pictures of ourselves, greeted Russian families coming down, and somehow communicated with a French clan who—surprise!—spoke French. These many different people, from many different cultures, with many different talents and dreams, all sweating, striving, and strategizing for one goal: the top!

After lunch, we commenced our big challenge. Hamilton Mountain stretched before us with five miles of terrain up, and a steeper, but shorter, four miles down. After the first mile, we had a beautiful resting spot, with two gorgeous waterfalls to enjoy.

The most delightful part of the reprieve, though, was the “Pool of Winds.” Standing on a rock outcropping, we were able to position ourselves right in the middle of a giant waterfall, with wind whooshing through our hair and cool water spraying our hot skin. Smiles broke involuntarily as the enchantment of the place seized us.

This beautiful corner was not our final destination, though. We kept moving, though ¾ of the people crowding around the falls beside us turned around and missed the ultimate goal. We encouraged each other, passing the time with songs and games, but never forgetting our purpose for being there, and never letting our eyes off the prize. Alone, many of us would have stopped, but together, we continued.

Three hours of hiking, and we were certain that we were almost to the top. “How far is it to the top?” I asked a man who was coming down.
“Oh…about two hours,” he said, and then continued on his way.

“And Atheist said, ‘I laugh to see what ignorant persons you are, to take upon you so tedious a journey, and you are like to have nothing but your travel for your pains….There is no such place as you dream of in all this world.’
‘But there is in the world to come,’ replied Christian.
‘When I was at home in mine own country, I heard as you now affirm,’ said Atheist, ‘and from that hearing went out to see, and have been seeking this city this twenty years; but find no more of it than I did the first day I set out [Jer. 22:12, Eccl. 10:15].’”

Instantly sobered and practically sickened, we all looked at each other in disbelief. Two hours? How would we ever make it? We continued stumbling along, but discouragement had set in like a roaring lion. The trees gave way to brush, and we found ourselves sweating in the hot sun. One foot in front of the other. Up, up—always up, never down. Dust sticking to our wet skin and water bottles getting low. Should we turn around? Should we quit?

“Now, I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river, but there was no bridge to go over: the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river, the Pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went in with them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.”

And then, thirty minutes after the prediction of our very own false prophet, we reached the top. Mount Adams, the Bonneville Dam, the Columbia Gorge, and the picturesque Columbia River stretched before us with trees blanketing the mountains in endless repetition. The most incredible echoes bounced back at us as we yelled, hooted, and yodeled. Down in a small corner of the vista, we could point out Beacon Rock, which had seemed so high at the start, but which now seemed so small. The scene we had observed from there was now expanded many times over, and we could see the entire landscape without any hindrance or obstruction. Everything came together in one completed and unified panorama, and each winding switchback now made sense. We had finished well.

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands….And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Revelations 7:9, 13-14, 16-17).”

Quotes from Pilgrim's Progress taken from Project Gutenberg.


  1. Wow! Mikaela, I really enjoyed your post - the beautiful photos and the spiritual comparison to our own Christian journey. Thank you for the encouragement to keep climbing. : )

  2. Beautiful pictures! Makes me anxious for my upcoming hike through the foothills of the appalachians! Love the blog!

  3. This is beautiful! I would absolutely love to go there one day myself. Also, I must commend you two ladies on such a lovely blog - it's characterizes many of life's aspects that I am fond of. Job well done! :)

  4. It so beautiful. I love very much

  5. I appreciate your PO very much the picture with the article. Continues to refuel!!

  6. wow you have lovely blog with amazing stuff and wonderful pics to share thanks for such peaceful place have a blessed life take care

  7. Well, you are my hero! I would die half way into this trip and would use every excuse to go home and make some more hats. :-))) The pictures look magnificent and it sound like you had a great time. :-) Wishing you wonderful day.

  8. What a remarkable place! Though I'm exhausted just thinking about walking/climbing that much. But by the looks of things, it must have been well worth it. Thank you for taking us with you.

  9. very beautiful your image in blog... i`m for fun look your blog

  10. Ruthie--I'm so glad this encouraged you! Speaking of which, we got to see Leah on Sunday, which was both an encouragement and a delight.
    Amanda, a cup of tea, Crystal, Suhaime, bertiebass, Amy, Baili, and Bilion--thanks so much for your lovely comments. While I certainly can't take credit for the gorgeous scenery, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. My philosophy in picture-taking tends to be to snap several hundred and hope a few dozen turn out. ;-)
    Anya--Lauren has told me so much about you, your talents, and your lovely blog from her visits there. Thank you so much for commenting! And I think you're stronger than you give yourself credit for. ;-)
    This American Tourist--you are so welcome! I'm glad you came along. ;-)

  11. all the gorgeous pictures! :D So lovely. Great post too, Mikaela

  12. wow what a view! God is so awesome!

  13. A wonderful writing style, energy and imagery... Love your spirit - keep up the good work!!


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