We had a wonderful experience during our spring backpacking and camping trip this past weekend. The Senior Unit hiked the 13 miles of the Lake Somerville Trailway while the Junior Unit camped along the shore of the lake. The Junior Unit worship theme centered on what they were thankful for, and included a photography hike to identify things in nature for which to give thanks. They also worked on astronomy and spent time canoeing. The Senior Unit began the Trailway trip in the evening, and had to put in a few more miles the first night than planned, as the initial campsite was closed for renovations. Awakening to the sound of birds at daylight, we finally had a chance to see out surroundings, and what a sight it was - wildflowers everywhere. Senior Unit worship focused on the lessons to be drawn from Israel’s loss of the Ark of the Covenant, and the subsequent recovery. We also drew inspiration from the nature around us, encountering butterflies and skinks, deer and wild boar. Sunday morning the two units finally met up at the lake, cooling our feet in the water, and sharing tales of the weekend’s adventures.
The SAIL Pathfinders held an Easter weekend retreat way out near Oatmeal. As usual, it rained, but this time not until we were already packed up and about to leave. The theme of the weekend was to understand more about Easter, about the resurrection and what it means for us. We talked about traditions, about beliefs, and had a discussion on how a seed can be seen as a parable of Christ, dead in the tomb and yet ready to bring forth life. We also had a physical challenge this weekend - to build a bridge. The staff worked on various rope bridges, while the Pathfinders lashed together a bridge over a (not-so-raging) creek. We learned a lot about what not to do - like the risks of tying off a rope bridge to a rotted tree and the weaknesses of certain types of bridge supports - but through creativity and teamwork both the Pathfinders and even the staff accomplished their goals, and we all managed to cross to safety (fire ants notwithstanding). With the burn ban off, we also had the opportunity to cook over the campfire again, something we haven’t had much of a chance to do here in Central Texas over the past few years. Nature also offered us a show, from the daylight-bright rising moon to the calm pastels of the sunrise, from the blossoms of the wildflowers to the scaly reptiles visiting the campsite. And the Birds provided a constant backdrop of song and color. Oh, and did I mention there were horses?