Northern CA P

Oct. 3, Mon.–No miles–still in Etna

Mon. Oct. 3     No miles    Waiting in Etna for storm to stop

This morning’s mountain view was pretty discouraging–the mountains were still covered with clouds, AND below the clouds I could see SNOW.  Even in Etna it was very cold and dark clouds covered the sky.  But we enjoyed a great Alderbrook breakfast and met some other people from the San Francisco Bay Area who were also staying there!  Tuning in to the weather channel on TV gave us a forecast of nice weather, beginning tomorrow, which gave us a lot of hope!  Again we said to each other, “The last time we got ‘stuck’ like this was in Tehachapi, and the Lord had a good reason for it then, so He must have another good reason now, besides ending the forest fire.”

Bill and I went for a walk around Etna, and enjoyed the steel sculpture honoring the packtrains in the mountains.  We also went to the drugstore soda fountain and had big hot fudge sundaes.  A husband and wife team of pharmacists own and run the store, with a “soda jerk” to do the fountain part.  We’d seen this pharmacist couple at church on Sunday, when they were talking about how many people who are on prescription drugs to treat a MEDICAL problem are also troubled and unhappy, with plenty of PERSONAL problems.  As pharmacists, this couple often know more about the drugs than do the doctors, so they end up doing a lot of counselling with their customers, and because as Christians they actually CARE about the people who come through their door, the counselling often leaves the “medical” behind and steps over into the spiritual.  They have spent many sympathetic hours with people and had the incredible joy of seeing them put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, then watched them being set free from the problems that resulted in dependance on prescription drugs.  The end result is actually less BUSINESS for the pharmacy in terms of dollars, but great REJOICING for the pharmacists.  Awesome!  We got to talk briefly to this very dear (but very busy!) pharmacy “team” there in the store.

Further walking in town included some beautiful fall foliage to admire.  Back at Alderbrook, Bill worked some more with Dave Harrison on fixing the hiker washing machine.  In the end, it turned out that it needed a new part that would cost as much as simply getting another used washing machine.   Then Bill and I went out to get ourselves some dinner.  It was 47 degrees and raining on and off.  The sky was still full of dark gray clouds.  But further checks of the weather reports still said conditions would improve rapidly tomorrow, so we decided we’d at least TRY to go farther on the PCT.   We settled down to enjoy one more night on a bed instead of the ground.  Hopefully the next bed we sleep in will be our own bed back home!

Oct. 2, Sun–No miles–Zero day in Etna

Sun. Oct. 2     No miles today     Zero Day in Etna

I woke up this morning at 6:10 am–exactly when we’ve been getting up while on the trail!  The first thing I did was go outside and look up at the mountains.  They were still covered with dark clouds.  Over Etna, there were some patches of clear sky.  Bill and I enjoyed a big breakfast of bagels and English muffins, then neatly loaded and stowed our packs out of the way and headed for church, which was just down the street.

Our first stop was Sunday School (in case you’re not a churchgoer reading this, yes, Sunday School is not just for kids.  It’s for everybody!).  The teacher had a very interesting topic based on some Bible verses in Ephesians and Hebrews on how if somebody hurts you and you refuse to forgive them,  and instead allow a “root of bitterness” to grow in your heart, not only will it ruin YOU, but it will mess up everyone around you, since bitterness has a “spillover” effect.  Then it was time for church, and we were very pleased to see that the FIRST thing they did in their meeting was to pray for some missionaries they help support in Romania.  It was a Berean church, which means they are really into the Bible and missions.  Even though Etna is a small country town, this church has many members who have personally gone overseas to help with missions.  And–they have a large Awana Club!!  It was wonderful to see the AwanaGames circle painted on the fellowship hall floor!  And I felt a bit bad when during the announcements, they mentioned, “We REALLY need some more ladies to be leaders with the 5th and 6th grade girls.”  That’s one of the groups I work with in the Awana club back home, and it has already started–and I am not there to lead my group.  We thought we’d be done with the PCT in time, but here we still are, trekking north.

After church we had several invitations to lunch, and ended up going with an older couple who also had lots of other people–mostly teens and kids–come over, too.  It was a housefull!  And fun!  We were having a great time when a look outside made my heart sink.  The wind and rain were back with a vengeance, and when I stepped outside to see how cold it was–brrrr.  It was really nasty.  A check of the weather report confirmed that rain, cold and wind would continue tomorrow, but the sun would return on Tuesday. 

So we decided not to try to hike on tomorrow, but wait one more day.  And we wondered, “Lord, why?  Why this delay right now?”  We have finally learned on this hike to not make a fuss about delays–God is always up to something if He allows them to happen.  We did find out one reason from the locals in Etna –the forest fire in the Marble Mountains just north of Etna.  All that smoke we’d been smelling for the last few days apparently had its origin not to the south as I’d thought, but to the north, in the Marbles, and guess what?  The PCT goes right through there.  So maybe one reason for the storm was to put out the fire??

Tonight we are in the Alderwood HOUSE instead of the Hiker Hut, and the Harrisons gave us a greatly reduced rate since the Hut was not available.  Mr. Harrison has offered to drive us back to the PCT anytime we are ready.  So we are very grateful and very blessed!