High Country Books

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Wild Rivers and Mountain Trails
Meditations from the High Country
by Don Ian Smith
ISBN: 0932773079
126 pages, trade paper
Wild rivers, rugged mountain trails, tall forests--these are the natural habitat of Don Ian Smith. Through the years he has found joy and inspiration in the wilderness settings of the mountain trails, and his Christian faith has been strengthened and renewed. Through his closeness with nature he has received a deeper understanding of God as Creator and of the necessity for man to be an appreciative tenant of the earth.
He feels deeply the responsibility man must share for tending our earth, as seen in his comparison between a wild river and a Christian life--"a thing of beauty and delight, serving those who come in contact with it, bringing a man hope and joy, being in close contact with the world adn the things of the world, and yet not letting the evil of the world taint and pollute it."
All who love the vastness and beauty of the great outdoors will find inspiration in these imaginative devotional experiences of a man who is close to God, nature, and mankind.

"Climbing the Pinto Creek Trail, I thought of some of the switchbacks I have had in my own life--time out for education, financial reverses that taught me some things I needed to know, sickness that has taught patience, just to mention a few of the major ones. And the Pinto Creek trail taught me some things about switchbacks that I hope I will always remember. First of all, when you are on a switchback that seems to take forever, remember that you really are climbing a little. From time to time, we would stop to rest our horses and let them catch their breath. I could toss a rock into the trail below me where we had been a few minutes earlier. We had not come a long way from that spot, and had not come up much higher, but we had come up a little bit. We were higher on the mountain than we had been--not much, but some. In life this happens. I take a year to complete what I wanted to do in a week. But it is done; I have gained something. I am not actually going in circles. I will not meet myself coming back.
"The second thing I learned on that trail was to enjoy the view as I went along. I didn't have to wait till we reached the rim to have a fantastic view of the canyon. Each switchback had its own viewpoint, and put the whole canyon in a little different perspective than the view from any other switchback. There were wonderful sights I would never have seen if I could have gone straight to the top--points of view and aspects of the canyon that one cannot see from the top. The exciting views that one gets from the slow progress up the trail reminded me that too often in life we are so eager to get to where we are going that we forget to enjoy the trip. And the journey can often be more interesting than the destination."
"Our trail led along the edge of a little canyon. The canyon was narrow, and the floor of the canyon was about one hundred feet below the trail. Growing up out of the bottom of the canyon were the most remarkable aspens. They had been protected from wind by the narrowness of the canyon, but they had been forced to compete for sunlight. In their efforts to reach up out of the canyon to catch the life-giving rays of sun, they had grown extremely tall and graceful. Their slender white trunks lifted their golden leaves up almost level with the trail, high above the bottom of the canyon. The tallness of these trees gave them a remarkable beauty; their struggle to reach as high as possible gave them a character quite different from ordinary aspen trees.
"These tall trees were really a thing of beauty. I was amazed to see that they could reach so high. I pondered again the miracle of creation--the ability of plants and animals to adapt to meet the needs forced upon them by environment. Yet for all the wonder of their reaching up, these trees reached only a tiny fragment of the ninety-three million miles to the sun. Their beauty, their life, even their ability to reach up, is made possible by the wonder of the sun reaching down to them.
"As we face the constant challenges of the world an dseek to live an abundant life, we are constantly reminded that in our human need we, like the trees, keep reaching up for the life-giving warmth of God's love. Certainly our efforts to grow as tall as we can toward him can add beauty and grace. But we also know that in all our striving we reach only a tiny fraction of the way. Religion is man's effort, reaching up to find God. The Christian gospel is the good news that God, like the warmth of the sun, reaches all the way down to us."
"Drawing on his intimate knowledge of the mountains of his home state, Idaho, Mr. Smith finds parallels between the natural world and spiritual truths. These are thought-provoking devotionals, not sentimental. The author avoids the all-too-common rapture that approaches nature worship."

----------Hope Lind, PROVIDENT BOOK FINDER


"The author draws from his beloved countryside, central Idaho, familiar objects on which to base his meditations. For instance: a snake skin, a caterpillar which turns into a butterfly, a straw stack and a faithful watchdog who arouses the household at midnight with his furious barking--when the author sallies forth to do battle with what he thinks must be a bear, he finds his faithful dog has merely cornered a toad."

----------Beatrice Plumb, CHRISTIAN HERALD


"This unpretentious little book by an Idaho minister should serve to make readers eager to hie away to the mountains. It would be even better if one were able to share an afternoon or two with Smith as guide or guru."



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