A trail at the Heber Valley Girls’ Camp in Utah was especially meaningful to me. While I was sitting by the fire one evening during my third year at Girls’ Camp, our leaders announced that anyone who wanted to come could take a sunrise hike the next morning. It sounded like a great idea until they said that we would have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. I almost decided not to go, but I’m glad that I got myself out of the wonderfully warm sleeping bag and put on my shoes in the dark that morning.
At first, we could hardly see a thing—the sky was still mostly black, so we each carried a flashlight, the beams of light bouncing off the rocks and the knotted aspen trees. The trail wound through the trees, over and around hills, and even through little trickling streams.
I tripped on rocks and branches a few times, but I kept walking and trusting my flashlight. I didn’t know where the hike would end up, but I trusted that my leaders knew where they were going. I felt safe with the leaders and the other girls in front and behind me. I began to feel hope for the end of the trail as the sky began to lighten and I began to get glimpses of the beautiful view of the small valleys below us. At some moments, though, I felt like the trail was going to go on forever. My legs were getting tired and my arms were scratched from branches and weeds. My hair was a mess. But at last, I came around a corner and found myself on a little plateau on top of a mountain. The view stretched for miles, and everything was tinted with the dusty blue and pink and grey morning light.
I sat on the dirt with some of the other girls, and we ate granola bars and sat quietly as we waited for the sun to come up. I finally spotted a beam of sunlight peeking over the mountains in the distance, and then suddenly the whole valley and all the mountains and our little plateau were awash in brilliant gold light. I had never been more grateful for an early morning.
As I was hiking back down to camp after the sunrise, I began to compare that hike to the path that I am taking in life and the plan that the Lord has prepared for each of us. I chose to come to this life, even though I knew it would be hard to get going and I wouldn’t be able to see at first. I have a strong flashlight: the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of revelation from God. My path takes unexpected turns and I often stumble and get hurt, but I feel safe because I am surrounded by my leaders and the people I love. I know that the Lord knows where my path will end up.
As I go on in life, I begin to see the path in front of me more and more clearly, and I occasionally see beautiful glimpses of what is to come for me. Sometimes, though, I feel like the trails and the trials are going to go on forever. I get tired from facing my path day after day, and I bear scars from challenges that I have faced. My hair is still a mess sometimes. But I know that someday, I will at last come around the corner and find myself in a peaceful place with the people I love, where I will wait for the sun to rise. Then, I will finally see the glorious view I am working and waiting for. And I know that I will be grateful for starting out on my path in the dark.
The experiences and perspectives that youth gain as they are out on the trail are a crucial part of Scouting. May we as parents, leaders, and mentors carry on the unique and powerful tradition of Scouting and continue to give youth the opportunity to learn about God’s creations and His divine plan for each of us.
Author: Laurie Haupt | Chinese major and nonprofit management minor at Brigham Young University. Grew up in Utah County surrounded by the Wasatch mountains and hearing stories about her grandfather’s backpacking adventures with the Scouts.