Gladstone Park Church Goes Backpacking

Fourteen backpackers from the Gladstone Park Church went on the Timberline Trail 600 around Mt. Hood in August. The group included singles, families, youth and an eight-year-old boy, all of whom trained for the hike by jogging and walking several times a week.

"The idea for the trek originated when my family backpacked in the Grand Canyon," said Jim Mathis, who organized the trip. "I wanted to relax in nature where God's creation speaks of His love and there is nothing artificial.

With backpacks averaging 40–45 pounds for the girls and 45–75 pounds for the boys, the group began their 40-mile hike at Ramona Falls. They traveled about eight miles a day.

One backpacker said, "When I was sitting reading from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, I looked around and in humbleness pictured how God revealed Himself in thunder and lightning."

"It's so beautiful being out here in nature—it's one of my favorite things to do. The flowers were unbelievable," another hiker observed.

Paul Johnson, Gladstone Park pastor, and his wife, Corleen, related, "We had to ford rivers, there were places where we lost our footing, and we had muscle strains, stiffness and some blisters, but we still enjoyed the fellowship with fellow believers in God's beautiful creation. But the next time we will all travel lighter."

Featured in: November 2003