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This panorama photograph of Grand Teton (13,775′, 4198m) and Mt. Owen was taken from the Cascade Canyon North Fork after a thunderstorm had cleared one summer evening. The rich colors of the setting sunlight enhanced the dramatic skyline of the highest mountains within the Cathedral Group.
Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern USA just 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park. The jagged peaks of the Teton Range rise dramatically out of the Great Plains to an altitude of 13,800′ (4200m). Grand Teton’s pristinely preserved wilderness features valleys covered with Columbine and Indian Paintbrush wildflowers, raging mountain rivers and rugged, snow-covered peaks. The park is home to many different kinds of animals including grizzly bears, elk, moose and marmots. Due to its stunning beauty, Grand Teton National Park is one of America’s most popular national parks.
[Jesus said,] “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’
The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’
Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'”
I started strong on my three day backpacking trip up Cascade Canyon and the North and South Forks of Grand Teton National Park. After a brief ferry ride across Jenny Lake first thing in the morning, I charged up the initial incline into Cascade Canyon.
However, I had been a bit stressed over an issue in my personal life the previous few days and had barely eaten anything because of it. I was also carrying a pack that weighed half of what I did because it was loaded down with my camera gear and my USNPS issued bear canister. (I really would have liked to leave that big, heavy, bear proof thing behind, but it was mandatory that I kept all my food and scented items in it so the grizzlies wouldn’t eat me or my food.)
A park ranger advised that I climb as high into the North Fork as possible to get the best photos, so I made that my goal. However, as the hours passed and the summer sun grew hot, my energy began to fade. In between the stress still pressing on my mind and the vigorous physical strain of gaining altitude, I struggled to eat anything. What normally would have been on the easier side of average for me soon became fairly difficult. Somewhere around 10 km (6.2 miles) of climbing I finally entered the camping zone, but I began to falter in the hot sun.
I thought I better sit down and rest on some boulders, which cooked me with their radiant heat, and I wondered how much longer I could–or should–go on. As I leaned back on my pack some backpackers passed me on their descent. I asked them how much further to Lake Solitude, my ideal destination. To my dismay they informed me it was still several km away and the trail gets steeper.
When I told them I would like to keep going they became quite concerned. They told me I looked pretty faint and asked me questions about how much water and food I had had and if anyone was with me. They weren’t convinced I should continue onwards.
I think all of the stress finally got to me, and, to my great surprise and embarrassment, I burst into tears right in front of these kind strangers. I told them, aside from other personal stressors, I was a bit sad because for months I had been looking forward to doing this trip with my dad who, at the last minute, pulled out because he felt he would be physically incapable of it. I decided to continue on alone. I profusely apologized to these complete strangers for my stress and tears because I didn’t want to be a sudden, unexpected burden to them.
Nevertheless, the hiking party immediately abandoned their agenda and said they would help me find a campsite nearby. After making me drink some water, they grabbed me by my arms and helped me up. One kept offering to carry my pack for me, despite the fact it was very heavy and completely saturated with a complete stranger’s sweat, but I just couldn’t let him do that.
As we walked at my tired pace, they stayed close in front and behind me and offered to hold my arms because I was feeling a bit faint. One man kindly went ahead to scout out different camp spots and found the best one for me with some shade nearby. They generously kept offering to pitch my tent for me and get everything set up while I rested in the shade, but I just didn’t want to be a burden to them or hold them up any longer. When I was finally able to convince them I would be OK, they continued on their journey.
I was overwhelmed by their kindness and concern for a total stranger. They were a true example of “The Good Samaritan” to me.
Thank you, Lord, for sending them to me in my weakened state, distress and time of need.
I pray God blesses them for being Good Samaritans to this total stranger.
I was, however, very disappointed with myself that I did not make it further because I knew I could have and should have. However, the spot I ended up was really beautiful, and I had many photo opportunities within a few minutes of where I was camped. This photo was one I took after resting and regaining my strength.