My brother sent our family an email this week with some thoughts about “awe.” He mentioned how our parents have instilled a sense of astonishment or awe of nature in us. We all go a little crazy over nature…so much that sometimes I think we’re a tad bit annoying with our pure exuberance pointing out this and that. (My sisters and I actually recorded a podcast about this if you want to check it out.) I know I’ve shared that I’m in awe of the desert many times before. But that email chain from my brother reminded me I should share two desert hikes I love.

Because isn’t Mother Earth so very beautiful?

I love this quote introduced to me by Richard Rohr:

To be alive is to look up at the stars on a dark night and to feel the beyond-words awe of space in its vastness. To be alive is to look down from a mountaintop on a bright, clear day and to feel the wonder that can only be expressed in “oh” or “wow” or maybe “hallelujah.”

Brian McLaren

So let’s shout a little hallelujah for this beautiful world of ours! Yours may be a little snowier than ours right now, or a little on the chillier side, but no matter where we are in the world, there is so much to be in awe about.

Two Desert Hikes I Love

Two birthdays got us out on two hikes this month.

You see, sometimes, when life throws you for a loop, it takes a birthday in order to drop everything and get out there in all that beauty. And it doesn’t hurt to have pretty wonderful conversationalists along for the ride.

Ok, and as you look at these pictures you may ask yourself, “wait, what beauty? what is there to be in awe about there in that desert wasteland?”

But if you don’t see it, come on over and join me for a hike and I’ll share my awe of the desert with you!

Unknown Name Hike

Ok, so first it was my friend Tonia’s birthday. And we took a hike that we’ve taken quite a few times before. The only problem is that I cannot remember what it’s called to save my soul. As soon as I figure it out I’ll come on back and post the name.

Not only did we not remember the name, but we got lost and forged our new trail.

But eventually we figured it out, and even added our own cairn to help future fellow hikers.

Can you see how the sun catches those gorgeous cacti up ther on the left?

My favorite.

I brought some “cake” and candles to celebrate at the top.

desert hiking in awe of desert beauty

Fat Man’s Pass via Mormon Trail

I know, weird name, ha! We hiked this one for my birthday a little early since I was out of town on the big day (more on that soon).

We were introducing this one to a friend who was visiting from Boston and all of us helped her see the awe in our desert.

This is how this one got it’s name…a teensy tiny “pass” to pass through:

Wait, does that really explain the name? Maybe not, but this is “Fat Man’s Pass:”

Thank heavens we were all able to squeeze through. Phew!

There were all kinds of crazy rock formations all over, take a look at this one:

A bridge you can go through.

The world is amazing.

I agree with Brian McLaren that to be alive is to be immersed in nature.

It makes me feel more alive than anything else!

One more quote to end on.

Awe is more than an emotion; it is a way of understanding, insight into a meaning greater than ourselves. The beginning of awe is wonder, and the beginning of wisdom is awe.
—Abraham Joshua Heschel

Sending much love and awe on out into cyberspace this morning.

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  1. I live somewhere with quintessentially beautiful hiking – and I spent a few months in the southwest and terribly miss hiking there! Always fun to see your hiking pics.

  2. There is a fabulous book called Phosphorescence by an Australian writer called Julia Baird. I’m thinking you would love it.

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