I have a friend who this spring set out on his third thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Last summer Kyle and Chuck joined him for a week to hike a section. His name is Bill Newman, but Appalachian Trail hikers always go by a trail name. On the trail Bill is known as Circuit Rider. Circuit Rider is a fine Christian man with a heart for God and great enthusiasm for life. I still remember the animation and spirit of worship he showed in describing a night drive back to camp from the UP when he was treated to a display of the Aurora Borealis… the great phenomenon of the Northern Lights.
To risk a pun, I “cross paths” with Circuit Rider sometimes. To my delight I received an e-mail last week from him. The trail journals of his current adventure were attached. . They were great reading. At last reading he had just crossed into South Carolina. He writes his journals on a Palm Pilot and then zips them back when he hikes out for supplies. I am looking forward to the next installment because three dear friends of mine were section hiking the Smokies with him last week, Manitou Mike, Moshe, and Kenton Carter, whose trail name I do not yet know. (Since his mom is a faithful Stonebridge reader I know she will let me know Tuesday morning when she opens her e-mail at First Baptist in Fremont).
I would love to experience a section of the AT with Kyle, Chuck, Dan and Wes someday. We are planning some short hikes on the North Country Trial and Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula this spring or summer. They are trials within reach of the Northwoods Conference Center.
This is the essence of an e-mail Kyle sent to Chuck the other day. When you read it you will know why we try to always have an adventure in mind.
I am really wanting to get outside and do something. I want to hike and camp and forge rivers and jump off of cliffs into deep green pools of ice cold water. I want to run up a mountain, I want to stroll up a mountain slowly and then look out over the vista and pray. I want to drive out west and camp and play my guitar and sing… I want to do something in the WILD. I want to live life in big gulps, no small ones. I want to breathe deep of the clean fresh air of someplace wild. I want to summit a mountain… I want to live above the cares of the world and be ruined for the ordinary. I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I want to be real. I want to worship God in His Sanctuary, the Outdoors. Let’s plan our adventure. What do you say?
I think men have adventures on their hearts. I don’t have all the equipment I need and I don’t have as much time as I wish I did. I don’t know when we will get to the grandfather of all North American trials. But I do have a couple things ready to go. I have a spirit of adventure and I am ready with a trail name.
My trail name will be Barnabas. A quick read of Acts 11 will show you why the name Barnabas appeals to me. It is an aspiration of mine to be like Barnabas. If you study the places where the name Barnabas is mentioned you will see that Barnabas was a man who knew when to believe in someone, when to restore someone, when to give someone a second chance, when to share with someone, and when to celebrate with someone. When he saw what God was doing in Antioch he celebrated with them and spoke words of encouragement to them. The word says that he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and faith.
If people gave you a good, honest trial name, what would it be? What trail name would others who know you best say fits who you really are? I hope we will share the same trail some day or look into the same fire at trail’s end. Maybe some day we will walk together on that path along the river that flows from the Throne of God. I hope we do. Until then maybe you can start to prepare for the adventure by picking a good trail name.
Ken (Barnabas) Pierpont
Riverfront Character Inn
April 13, 2003