Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 1, 2013

Trail Ahead Closed

There is little white space on my calendar these days. So, when I have an opportunity to embark on one of my affordable adventures on my day off I jump at the chance to do so. This morning, I loaded my gear into my truck and drove to Lake Somerville State Park, located east of Dime Box (the destination of one of my previous backroads adventures). Since I have never visited Lake Somerville, I thought the drive there and a good long hike at the park would do me a world of good.

Lake Somerville Sign
Last night I studied a map of the Lake Somerville Trailway, a 13-mile hiking trail that starts just north of Lake Somerville. My goal for today was to hike this particular trail and then to return at a later date to hike the remaining trails. When I arrived at the park, the ranger briefed me on the trail and jotted down my cell number since I was hiking alone. She also advised me to take plenty of water since there is no potable water along the trail.

With my Camelbak filled with plenty of water and a map of the park in my back pocket, I grabbed my trekking pole and headed down the trail. I was a little more than excited to be outdoors hearing nothing but the sound of the birds and my own steps. Just a short distance down the trail, I walked through splashes of beautiful yellow flowers lining both sides of the trail. “What a great day to be outdoors,” I thought to myself.

Area Closed
As I approached the three-mile marker, I noticed a sign ahead that said the area was closed. I stopped at the sign and looked longingly ahead. This was not a part of my plans for today. I had come to hike the entire 13-mile Lake Somerville Trailway. Puzzled, I called the park ranger and asked about the sign. She told me that since I had arrived earlier that morning, they had received an advisory of flooding on the trails because of the recent heavy rains.

The park ranger apologized for the inconvenience. “No problem,” I said, “this will give me an opportunity to retrace my steps and to see the same trail from the other direction.” I also knew that this would give me an opportunity to hike a shorter and more primitive loop on the way back to my truck. As I walked back, I noticed my own footprints — the ones I had made when I was headed in the hopeful direction of the end of the trail. Although I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of heading back to my starting place, I did enjoy a different perspective of the same trail.

Of course, being a preacher, I thought about Paul on his second missionary journey. Paul and his companions “attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:7). Instead, God redirected Paul and his team to a place called Troas, located on the extreme western shores of Asia Minor. It was there that Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man who was standing and appealing to them for help. The rest is history. Paul and his companions headed to Macedonia and, for the first time, the gospel came to the West.

Trail Map
Today was not the first time, and it certainly will not be the last time, that my steps have been redirected. I’m ok with that because it’s a part of the adventure. As with Paul, it is precisely those closed trails that can redirect us to a better place where we make even greater discoveries about what God wants us to do next. I had the opportunity to see things from a new direction today and to hike a trail I otherwise would have missed — all because the trail ahead was closed. That’s pretty cool.


  1. Very cool dear Friend! So often we forget that the doors God closes are as important as the ones that He opens! 🙂

    • Very good word, Jackie. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Omar – I have something so, so, so cool to share with you about this post when I return to Houston at the end of the month – Can’t wait to tell you!!! 🙂

    • Wow! Look forward to seeing you soon and hearing more. Safe travels.

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