Great Hike!

I did it! I hiked to the summit of Brown’s Mountain this morning. The daunting, dusty trail lay before me, as well as the prospect of reading the trail map alone. I always count on the aide of my amazing husband to be both map reader and trail guide. He chose not join me today but, before I left the house, he handed me the trail map and quietly asked me to take it. My short retort was, “Don’t need it, can’t read it.”

Yikes! Who said that four letter contraction of the words CAN NOT? Could it possibly be the same woman who drove across most of the USA alone, without a real map or driving glasses, a few short years ago? The moment I heard those words come out of my mouth, I knew I had to do three things:

  1. Take the map
  2. Read the map
  3. Select a challenging trail

However, while driving toward the trailhead, my resolve wavered a bit and I briefly considered choosing another Saturday morning hike on the nearby Quartz Trail. This is one I know and am able to virtually do in my sleep. But, THANKFULLY Brown’s Mountain and the more challenging trail continued to beckon and call my heart to higher heights and grander vistas.

Approaching the trailhead, I asked a volunteer steward for his wisdom about a new, more challenging trail than the one I’d completed yesterday. He marked out his suggestion and also shared a brief bit of ranch history. So happy and thankful he did. Half way up the trail I saw the foundation and water tank remains, as he said I would.

Brown's Ranch 1

The abandoned foundations of these buildings sat off in the distance, surrounded by nothing by desolate desert.

It’s 9:30am, April 7 and the temp in this beautiful desert is already 91 degrees. The afternoon hours and summer days only mean greater heat. What prompts someone to live here? Possibly the Brown family struck out alone, in a place with few family or friends willing to join along. The mountain honoring the family name and the abandoned building foundations testify that the family did, in fact, take the challenge. The two pics that follow might give us a clue to the motivation…

Goldie Brown

did they build and settle in the beautiful Sonoran Desert for the love of the horse and the promise of raising cattle? It’s really impossible to know for sure.

Brown's Ranch

But, in a strange way, the Brown family and I have one small thing in common. I hiked a trail challenge, using a map, taking the Summit Spur Trail and arriving at the summit of Brown’s Mountain. I took a pinnacle moment to experience the beauty and exhilaration of my accomplishment. Knowing I could do it, I did.

I believe that there must have been moments, even amidst the heat of this harsh, relentless desert environment, when the Brown family experienced the same I DID IT feelings. Maybe Mr. Brown and his bride (Goldie, pictured above), or one of their children or grandkids stood atop the same summit, viewing a world class Arizona sunset and hearing a heart-whisper say, “Great hike! You made it! You did it!”

For me, the person I thought I needed along to complete the hike (my husband), would’ve hindered the depth of my personal satisfaction. I did it… following my own path, alone. I honor the family who established Brown’s Ranch and years later donated the tract of land for all of us to share and enjoy. Today, with that family, I share a very tiny piece of the celebration of stepping forward into the bigger vision of who God created each of us to be.

“Great Hike, Mr. Brown.”… “Great Hike, Miriam”




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