Today is Sunday. A day when many go to a place called church to reflect and connect on a deeper level. I go to the mountains. The mountains are my church. My sanctuary. Where I can connect with the nature, wildlife, sounds, and silence to reflect on my life. The place we used to spend our time in before the modern convenience brought us indoors.
But first I had more important things to do. I needed to connect by reaching out and see if I could help others. This week changed the lives of many. We had a raging wildfire in our extended community that is still displacing hundreds of people as the fire is still not fully contained. The fire was about 10 miles from Park City, yet this was the view we saw for days.
Amazingly only eight houses burnt down, countless sheds & barns, vehicles and more. No human casualties. Still unknown about pets, horses, livestock or wildlife. People had minutes to get out. Living in the mountains we know the risk of wildfire and many had prepared with defensible space around their house. Still, I don’t think anyone can truly prepare for the emotional toll of having minutes to leave while watching the fire approach their house and neighbors. Or, as in the case for many not being able to get to their house to get their pets. It is hard to take a photo that represents the damage as the damage extend almost 2,000 acres and this is just a snapshot of the area. Driving by I was in awe at the work of firefighters. These guys truly are heroes.
It could have easily been my neighborhood. It just happened to be theirs. Our community is amazing when it comes to helping others. We also have a non-profit called the Christian Center of Park City that is helping out with clothing, food, and other emergency assistance. But today it was time for me to do more than just sharing posts on Facebook on where people could go for donations. I needed to drive to the area. I needed to meet the people affected. So I went to the country store where people know each other by first name.
I left my name and number for anyone to call that needed help. Help with cleanup. Help re-planting trees. A hand over the next few months. It is so easy to forget once the media stops reporting on it. Once they are allowed back into their houses. It is so easy to decide to go back to normal for us not affected. Out of sight, out of mind kind of mentality. I didn’t want that to happen. It happens too often. We get busy. Someone else will step in and do it. I decided to get involved. I am so glad I did. I meet some amazing people. Strong people. Real people. People with generous hearts.
After my stop I felt rejuvenated. Energized. Hopeful. Giving without expecting is so rewarding. I decided to continue my plan of hiking to Lake Blanche, located in Big Cottonwood canyon. The drive over Guardsman pass to the trail head is always spiritual. I never get tired of looking at these steep mountains and feel blessed that I get to live here.
The hike to Lake Blanche is steep. You gain about a 1,000 ft per mile and it is 2.8 miles to get to the lake and then of course 2.8 miles back down.
But the effort is hugely rewarded.
What a blessing it is that I get to hike to a place like this. I never take it for granted. I say thanks every day. I hope you said thanks today. Because no matter what, we always have something to be grateful for.