Historic Baker City

Historic Baker City

Last weekend was a breath of fresh air. It was a time of relaxation and friendship as my wife and I had the opportunity to get away and spend a weekend together without our son (Thanks Dad and Mom for babysitting!!) – or any of the stress of being a pastor or homeowner (amazingly enough the later is actually harder!). The first evening was spent camping next to Philips Lake about twenty miles west of Baker City, Oregon. The next morning we got up lazily and wondered into town to visit the really cool Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. After that we visited the Geiser Grand Hotel – build in 1889, this hotel recently went through a $7 million dollar restoration project that restored the aging hotel its former glory. Later on that night we returned to the Geiser Grand saloon to enjoyed a cold Deschutes Black Butte porter while sitting on the ancient bar stools. (well, I enjoyed the Black Butte…Emily slipped the other kind of beer – the type made from roots). That night we crashed at a local bed and breakfast (Prospectors Frontier Inn) which used to be a doctor’s office in the late 1800’s. While it cost a tad more than your regular cheap motel, this place had a TON of history, character and just oozed peace and relaxation! Sadly enough the weekend was soon over as we had to get up early Sunday morning and drive back to Idaho to visit the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of...

Backpacking the Seven Devils

While on the trail, I came up with lots of cool sounding titles for this post… most of which were not that good seeing that I was in a lot of pain (my knee decided to go on vacation halfway through the loop) and that the names “Hells Canyon” and “Seven Devils” make unpolite words polite. “Fighting Seven Devils In Hell” “Going Through Hells (Canyon)” “Trying to Find Heaven in Hells” – this only works if know that ‘Horse Heaven’ is the name of the half way point on the loop… “Overcoming the Devils” (did I mention I was in pain?) yeah… it was brutal 30 miles…. Tons of deadfalls (i.e. large dead trees laying on top of the trail making one either climb over, under or around – not easy when you are on a narrow cliff side trail), creeks running through the trail, rocks (lots and lots of rocks!!! I mean, it was the HELLS Canyon Wilderness after all), snow drifts (more on that later) and, well, everything else you would think to find in the middle of the wilderness. It a nutshell (hmm…how many megabits could you fit into an acorn shell?) we should have given ourselves four to five days to complete the Seven Devils loop instead of just three days (note to self, 10 mile a day walks with a 40-lb backpack is NOT a good idea!). But, on the good side, I got some great pictures! (238 of them in fact..)...
Next Weekend’s Backpacking Trip

Next Weekend’s Backpacking Trip

I finally decided on a trail for next weekend’s backpacking trip:  Seven Devils Loop. It is a 26.7 mile trail around the Seven Devils Mountain near Hells Canyon (west central Idaho). At 9,393 feet, He Devil Mountain is the highest point in the area….only thing is that the mountain plunges 8,043 to the Snake River at the bottom of Hells Canyon – making it the deepest river gorge in North America. I called the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area folks and they said the trail is fairly clear – granted, there is some snow drifts and ice on the western slopes of the mountains…oh, and there is some deadfall on the trail….but it should be doable. The temperature in the mountains ranges from the high 60s in the daytime to 30s at night (thank the Lord for mummy bags and silk underwear!). When it comes to wildlife, there is a good chance of seeing elk, deer, bear, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, cougars, bobcats, golden eagles, hawks, falcons and a variety of other birds and reptiles (not to mention the occasional wolf). To some it may sound crazy, but to me it sounds like a perfect weekend....

When Will The Pastor Show Up?

I officiated my fourth wedding Sunday – and, I must say, it was one of the most relaxed weddings I have ever attended. The wedding was held on Dry Buck Mountain (20 to 30 minutes north of Sweet) at a campsite where the couple and some of their family/friends spent the night. The ceremony itself was in front of a huge boulder with the couple standing barefooted on an elk hide they got a few years back on the same mountain. Being an outdoor guy, I joined them in going barefoot – only I choose to stand on the grass as to keep a special meaning for the hide. (Granted, the ants did make standing there a tad interesting….luckily they just crossed my feet and didn’t travel up.) However, hands down the funniest part of the wedding was when I was chatting with some of the guests before the ceremony as we were waiting for the bride to get ready. One of the gentlemen looks around and asks me, “So…when will the pastor show up?” While it was tempting to reply – “I don’t know…I hope he shows up soon as I’m tried of waiting.” – I didn’t. Instead, I let him off the hook with a simple, “That would be...
Gearing Up For Fathers’ Day

Gearing Up For Fathers’ Day

Last year a widow lady in the community gave me her husbands fishing tackle box as well as some of his old poles. Unfortunately, things conspired against me and I was never able to make it out to the water… This year is different… this year I have discovered that I need the peacefulness of fishing in order to calm my spirit. Accordingly, I decided to empty out this old tackle box, clean it up and basically get things organized. Originally this was going to be a calm chore…but I forgot how appealing little bright things could be to a toddler… 😕 Luckily, Jadon didn’t stab himself or get any hooks caught in his mouth…but boy did he try!! In the end, I was able to get everything organized and put back into the box. Now I am ready for Father’s Day tomorrow as we are suppose to go down to the local lake, throw some steaks on the grill and hang out with some awesome friends. I say “suppose to” as I’m not sure if the weather is going to hold out…it has been raining all day today and there is a 30% chance of rain tomorrow…. I guess we shall see…… Either way, I have a clean tackle box!...
Soul Care via a Fishin’ Rod

Soul Care via a Fishin’ Rod

One of the struggles of being a bi-vocational pastor is the lack of ‘down’ time – I spend all week in front of a computer working only to get up early Saturday morning to study and type out a sermon. Today I decided to do something different – I decided to go fishing with my father. And wow, was it refreshing to the soul! There is just something powerfully healing about relaxing amidst the beauty of God’s creation…. We didn’t catch anything…but like I mentioned before, the purpose wasn’t really to catch any fish. The main purpose was to get out of the house, out of the office, and to allow my soul to be strengthened through contact with God’s land. Now to prepare for...