A few weeks ago, we found ourselves hiking the Sound of Silence Trail in Dinosaur National Monument. It had been a rainy few days, but we found ourselves with a few hours of sunshine and set out on the trail. We were blessed with visitors from Jess’s family, and had a wonderful time chatting as we hiked up the trail.
Fairly soon on the hike, the trail dipped into a wash, and we followed the winding course of the wash for a mile or so. The rain the previous few days had washed the trail clean, safe for some wild-animal hoofprints and the footprints of one lone hiker. The trail was beautiful, and were were enjoying the solitude. An occasional trail sign assured us that we were on the right path. About a mile up the wash, the trail (marked with a sign) led up and to the right. The trail led up and out of the wash, and then wound through some clay hills that reminded me remarkably of the Painted Hills in Oregon.
The tight turns in the trail through the clay hills soon revealed the name of the trail: despite being only a few hundred yards in front of the rest of our hiking party, we could not hear any sound of their talking. It occurred to me that this point that I was glad to have signs along the trail to guide our way. Without signs, the limited visibility and inability to hear could create a dangerous situation should we become lost.
The trail had signs at every significant turn, but at points I began to wonder if we were still on the trail. The rain had wiped out all previous footprints, and sections of the trail were not that distinct from the surrounding landscape.
I found myself watching for the footprints of that lone hiker who had hiked the trail before us that morning. Seeing the path of somebody who had gone before us was comforting. The trail signs were sufficient to guide us at forks in the trail, but it was the footprints that gave me confidence.
God’s prophets (ancient and modern) serve as signposts along our trail of life. At significant junctures we can learn from their teachings and choose the path that aligns with principles of The Gospel of Christ.
At times on our journey through life, we might wonder if we are still on the right path. Recent controversy, disasters, or personal relationships at times wash out our trail. During these times, it is often the examples of others that give us confidence in our direction. Their example, living the Gospel day by day, little by little, are the footprints that stretch before us.
As we neared the end of our hike, the footprints before us gave us confidence. The gap in the rain was closing. With a rainstorm moving toward us and raindrops starting to fall, we started to hurry. We followed those footprints rapidly down the trail, and made it back to the truck only slightly wet.
I’m grateful to those whose footsteps I follow, both in life, and on the trail. Their step by step examples give me courage and confidence as I push onward.