Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 13, 2013

Map My Heart

I love the seasons, such as they are in our part of the Lone Star State. When I flew in from Cambodia on Tuesday, I was happy to be greeted by cooler Texas temperatures. I checked the weather for the rest of the week before I left the airport and was glad for the cooler temps but bummed that the only chance of rain was predicted for today. And today is the only day this week for me to squeeze in a few hours of hiking between my morning and evening commitments.

City Gates Guys
Jet lag had me in bed early last night and I prayed that somehow I could have a little clear weather to hike at nearby Brazos Bend State Park. I am on a mission to hike all 35 miles of trails at the park and wanted to get a little closer to my goal. After meeting with the City Gates men’s group early this morning, I decided to head for the park and hope for the best. The City Gates guys are going to Cambodia with me at the end of January to work at The Hope Center. They are hard-working men who love the Lord and the outdoors. I am looking forward to spending time with them in Cambodia.

BB Red Buckeye Trail
I am really glad that I headed to the park today because there was hardly anybody there. The park ranger told me that the trails were in good condition and that I would have them all to myself. He wasn’t kidding. My goal for today was to hike two of the longer and more primitive trails. It was a bit chilly when I started hiking toward the Red Buckeye Trail that loops around to follow a section of the wide and slow-moving Brazos River. Within a few minutes, however, I felt completely comfortable in my layered clothing.

BB Creekwook Lake Trail
I enjoyed the solitude so much today. I found myself praying aloud several times along the way or humming favorite worship songs. When I hike alone it’s easier for me to keep a steady pace and to stop at my leisure to meditate at a nice spot or to take photos. Hiking alone is definitely good for the soul and today my soul needed the refreshment that comes only by spending time alone with God.

BB Creekwood Lake Tree
I also enjoyed trying out my new iPhone hiking app today — Map My Hike. This is a really cool little app that tracks every step on a map and records all sorts of information like the elevation along the trails and average speed and split times. And, to my surprise, it gives verbal feedback every mile about distance and speed and splits. At the end of the hike the app allows you to archive your route along with all of the information related to that particular hike. I think Lewis & Clark would have loved this app. Today I hiked 9.3 miles in 2 hours and 53 minutes.

BBSP Dec 2013 Hike
As I used my iPhone hiking app today, I thought about how cool it would be to have a companion app called Map My Heart — something to record the good that a long walk in the woods can do for your heart and mind. There was a lot of stuff weighing heavily on me when I started my hike that somehow did not feel quite as heavy when I finally made it back to my truck. My time in prayer along the trails of Brazos Bend State Park made a difference. Oh, and by the way, it never did rain today, at least while I was hiking at Brazos Bend. That is a special gift that I really needed today. Thank you, Lord!

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