THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL AND PSALM 91

Being an avid hiker, I was aware of the many dangers that could befall women hiking alone. So, before setting out to hike the Appalachian Trail in 1995, part of my extensive preparation was to memorize the 91st Psalm. I remember fervently whispering it to myself many times during this spiritual journey: When balancing on narrow ledges over deep ravines (my fifty-five pound, external frame pack, sometimes swaying precariously in the wind); inching over slippery rocks during river crossings, with raging currents swirling up to my chest (Eagle Creek Trail, Tennessee, fourteen river crossings in eight miles); waking up to a man sitting on a rock, twenty feet away from my tent, with a rifle across his lap; slipping down the side of a mountain in a mud slide, and injuring my knee and being unable to walk in Virginia (just to name a few). God was always with me during this incredibly spiritual pilgrimage.   

I remember feeling intense fear when I couldn’t walk. I was about twenty miles away from the nearest road crossing and praying that a hiker would pass this desolate section of trail on this rainy day. In a short while, a doctor, happened by on the trail and after rummaging around in his backpack, he handed me a bottle of codeine pills:

Psa 91:1 (ESV) He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psa 91:2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Psa 91:3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

Psa 91:4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Psa 91:5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

Psa 91:6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

Psa 91:7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Psa 91:8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.

Psa 91:9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place– the Most High, who is my refuge–

Psa 91:10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.

Psa 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

Psa 91:12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Psa 91:13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Psa 91:14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Psa 91:15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

Psa 91:16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  

 

Here, take these, they’ll help get you to the nearest road where you can hitch-hike to a hospital.”

It took me three days to reach the trail head on my bad leg. I hitched a ride to the Holy Family Shelter in Virginia, and then on to a hospital. On the bus ride home to Massachusetts, I remember thinking of the numerous miracles that happened on that five hundred mile journey to God. I vowed I would someday write about His goodness and love for us. By the way, my trail name was “Eaglewing,” after Isaiah 40:31.

Isa 40:31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

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~ by Andrea T on July 7, 2008.

5 Responses to “THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL AND PSALM 91”

  1. I love your story! How exciting, both the hike and your adventure with God! What a sweet relationship you have with Him. Bless you, sister.

  2. Wow! You did the Trail by yourself. I’ve heard of people doing it in pairs and it’s still pretty tough. But by yourself…God has truly had his wings of protection over you, Eaglewing.

  3. To God’s girl: It truly was an adventure with God… I still want to write about the many experiences I had with Him on the “trail.” As always, thanks for your encouraging remarks.

    To unfinished person: I only did 500 miles of it and had to quit. Imagine Grandma Gatewood from Virginia… she was 68 years old when she hiked the entire 2,100+ miles by herself the first time! Thank you for your kind comments.

  4. Curious what your trail name was in ’95. My wife and I hiked the trail on ’95 (Full Moon and Celestial Spirit)

  5. I remember you both, we met briefly at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (or thereabouts), my trail name was Eaglewing.

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