Posts Tagged With: Backpacking

Atlanta a.k.a. “Base Camp”

Here is Pat Illingworth’s last post before heading out to the trail…

Atlanta a.k.a. “Base Camp”.

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Good Water Trail – Lake Georgetown, Texas

Pat Illingworth blog on another training hike.

Good Water Trail – Lake Georgetown, Texas.

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The latest blog from Pat in his preparation for his long hike. He hiked Walnut Creek Park in Austin, Texas.

Fuzzy Yellow Ball

Rider back! I hear that often since I take my training hikes on a popular mountain biking trail called Walnut Creek. It is pretty busy on the weekends and I get to see how well trail etiquette really works.

As a hiker I step clearly out of the way, facing the riders so they know that I know they’re coming…most appreciate and acknowledge the fact that I am making way for them…for me it’s about attitude… I don’t feel like I own the trail and that they should have to go around me. I believe that I should make way for them and this is just common courtesy, it’s respect. I mountain bike these trails too and it can be difficult to maneuver around a hiker in the middle of the narrow trail!

So while doing my hike this weekend a group of mountain bike riders passed me coming up…

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Preparations

Another Blog from Pat Illingworth, regarding his preparation for his long hike.

Preparations.

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Here is recent post from Pat Illingworth, in preparation for his trip.

Fuzzy Yellow Ball

My original plan for a post tonight was to start writing about my gear list (wee, fun) but instead I’m going to blog a little about Mildred Lisette Norman, a.k.a. The Peace Pilgrim.

Honestly, I had never heard of Mildred before tonight and her story is incredible. From 1953 thru 1981 Mildred (calling herself only The Peace Pilgrim) walked about 25,000 miles, crossing the US almost 7 times. She carried no food, money, sleeping gear or really anything else. She walked until someone offered her shelter, she fasted until someone offered her food (she never asked). She did it to promote peace.

Wow!

In a big way this resonates with me as Mildred was the first woman to thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 1952, since I’m not sharing my gear list I will share Mildred’s: A pair of slacks, one shirt and sweater, a blanket and two plastic sheets…

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A Hike to Reconnect (and to support SWR)

A Hike with God on the Appalachian Trail

By Pat Illingworth

Pat Illingworth

Pat Illingworth

Pat Illingworth has been a very close friend of mine for about nine years now. We met at Gateway Church in Austin. There he followed his passions and volunteered extensively in the youth ministry. Like me, he gave up his engineering career and stepped into full-time ministry about the same time I did. He took a job at Gateway, and served as an outreach coordinator and assistant youth pastor. He also has enjoyed the outdoors, mainly wake boarding and snow boarding. However, he has done numerous long backpacking trips in the past. So now he senses he is being called into the wilderness again to reconnect with his Creator.

Pat on a Backpacking Trip Long Ago

Pat on a Backpacking Trip Long Long Ago

Reasons for Hike

Reconnect with God

Pat really doesn’t like the term “bucket list” and this adventure is not on a list nor will it ever be. This hike is so much more than just completing it and checking the box. It’s about being called out of the chaos that surrounds us to get closer to God by stepping into the wilderness. In the wilderness, the need for a schedule, a list, a plan or anything else will be stripped away. It is a reset, a chance to slow life down and ease back into what is important. He will be stepping away from conformity and stepping towards something unique.

Raise Funds for SWR

Pat also believes in the mission of the Sonshine Wilderness Retreat to the degree he is taking it to the Appalachian Trail. In addition to reconnecting with God, his desire is to raise funds as part of his hike, so the SWR ministry can get a kick-start in its operations. The fundraiser doesn’t have a name yet, but for now you can call it a hike-a-thon. The total length of the hike will be 2,180 miles, so people can give so much per mile or a flat amount. For example, if a person donated $0.10 per mile, the total donation would be $218.00. So if you want to come alongside Pat to help raise funds, you just need to click on – Sonshine Support. The page shows you several different ways you can donate

Starting and Ending Dates

app trail

Appalachian Trail

Pat plans to begin his hike on February 24, 2013 (his 49th birthday) and he should complete the trail sometime in September.

Starting and Ending Points

Pat’s starting point will be at Amicalola Falls State Park, about 90 miles north of Atlanta GA, and his finishing point will be at the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine, about 100 miles east of Quebec. The total length will be 2,180 miles and span 14 states. Click Here for an interactive map of the trail.

Plans Along on the Way

Pat has no plans or expectations! He will hike, enjoy God’s creation, take his time, be open to God’s word, take many pictures, meet new people, and make new friends. With a head and heart clear of commotion, he will be having on-going conversations with God, truly hear, and be open to whatever He says.

Type of Terrain to Expect

The terrain varies quite a bit over of Appalachian Trail. In the early stages of the hike, Pat will be traversing through several of the largest national forests in the US along the Southern parts of the trail. He will encounter lots of mud, roots and loose stone. The highest climb on the trail will be in Tennessee called Clingman’s Dome. As he gets out of the southern states, he will encounter more rocky terrain through Pennsylvania and New York. When entering into the New England area, Pat will be covering the most rugged part of the trail with sections that will require climbing with hands and feet.

Plan for Communication

Sadly, Pat will not be totally free of civilization. He will be dropping off the trail into towns every 3 to 5 days for rest, food and supplies. While in these small towns, he will call friends and family and provide updates on his blog (https://onthetrailwithgod.wordpress.com). We will also be keeping you updated on our Facebook page and website.

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Redirected…

Once we signed the contract on the Austin house, CJ and I reflected on how smoothly the process had gone and how we saw God’s hands at every step.  With the Austin process coming to an end, we realized that we needed to get the Salida process started.  I contacted our realtor in Colorado to ask him about rental houses in downtown Salida.  However, since he lives in Buena Vista, which is about 25 miles north of Salida, he referred us to a woman that specializes in Salida rentals. I contacted her, gave her our wish list (i.e., location, type of house, etc) and let her know that we would be moving July 1st. When she asked if we had any pets, I told her yes…5 (3 large dogs and 2 cats).  You could almost cut the silence with a knife followed by a great big “OHHHH”. She said that it was going to be very difficult to find someone willing to rent their house to someone with so many animals. She also told us that many of the places don’t notify her until a month before move in, so many of the houses up for rent at that time were available June 1st. She said she would keep her eyes and ears open for a place that would take our pets with available of July 1st.

We waited for several weeks for our rental contact to call us back. We didn’t want to seem pushy or impatient, but after no response and concerned with the lack of time we had, I finally called her.  She answered but didn’t seem too excited about finding us a place. All she had to say was that nothing had come available and that she would call us when something came up. After more waiting, I called her again and left a message, but more days passed and no return call.  So we prayed about the situation and took the lack of response as a sign that maybe we weren’t to rent in town. By this time it was mid-May, and the reality of us being homeless as of July 1st really started to hit us. Both of us started to feel a sense of urgency.

We originally sensed the direction that God wanted us to go was to rent a house in town (in order to connect with community) and buy land which we would then lease back to SWR. Well, not finding a rental house prompted us to check our budget again, and we realized that we actually wouldn’t be able to afford to pay both rent on a house and a note on property. We took this as a door closing, not on SWR but on our original understanding of how we were to go about this.  We knew God had a plan, we just weren’t sure what it was. So, we continued to pray for a clear vision of the next step in His path for us.

After much prayer, CJ felt led to start looking at houses for sale in the Salida area.  My initial reaction was negative: (1) because it was not in the direction that I thought God was leading us (towards land for SWR), and (2) I had never bought a house in an area that I hadn’t lived in for a while (I’ve always felt it was important to get the lay of the land before making a commitment to a certain location). Well, we continued to pray about this direction and soon I realized that I wasn’t trusting that He was going to provide. My fear was that if this endeavor didn’t work out, we would be stuck with a house in an unfamiliar.

With CJ getting the idea to look at houses for sale, the rental market being non-existent, and me trusting Him, we had a strong sense that God was redirecting us to buy our own home and then have SWR buy the land at a later date (which actually makes better sense from a tax perspective). In faith, we dove in head first. I called our realtor about pulling all the house listings in Salida, Buena Vista and the areas in between. The next day he sent us the MLS listings for all the available houses. Sifting through them, it quickly became clear to us that for what we can afford, living in town wasn’t an option. The houses in old town Salida within our budget were too small (like 800 sq. ft small) and/or needed a ton of work. This was discouraging, given that we felt very sure that God wanted us to connect with the local community and town living was the best way to do that.  However, with that door closing , we then focused our efforts on the houses in the rural areas. While we were reviewing the listings, our realtor contacted us about a rental house that would be available when we needed it and that would also allow our 5 pets. The catch was that it was in a subdivision in the northwest part of Buena Vista, which is about 40 minutes north of the Salida community that we felt God was leading us. So we discussed what this could mean and we prayed about it. Two questions came up in our discussion, is God directing us away from the community we thought we were to become a part of and towards the community in Buena Vista? Alternatively, could this rental be a distraction and an easy way of relieving our fear of being homeless? After prayer, we both sensed that we were to continue to move forward on the path we were on until a door closed. I talked to our realtor about what we were sensing and he said that the rental could aslways be a fall back if we couldn’t land a house by July 1st.

As a side note, even though our realtor knew that we weren’t ready to buy land, he also sent us MLS listings of available properties in the areas between Salida and Buena Vista. In this area, property appears to be on the market for some time, so it wouldn’t hurt to start looking.  All properties were a minimum of 35 acres due to the lesser development restrictions on larger lots regarding water rights and such.

Well, after reviewing over 40 MLS listing for houses and properties, we found two houses and two properties that we thought had a lot of potential. The houses were located very close to each other in a prime location along US 50 about 8-10 miles west of Salida and about 8 miles east of the Monarch Ski Resort. The houses were also located about 10-15 minutes south of the two potential properties for SWR, which are located about 3 miles west of US 285 in the area which we envisioned between Buena Vista and Salida.

Now that we found some houses that warranted a closer look, we needed to fly up and see them as soon as possible. Our window of opportunity in finding a house within the typical month timeline necessary for loan processing was quickly closing. I had to go it alone this time because CJ couldn’t take more time off of work at that time.  She was really bummed that she couldn’t go, but was ok with me going alone because she trusted my prayerful judgment. 🙂

I don’t want to make this blog too long , so my adventure back to Colorado will be in my upcoming blog.

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Diosidence

Highlights from April

As promised, here’s the next installment of our recent adventures.

The last we posted, we had not yet listed the house but were continuing to work on home projects and ongoing SWR related business in hopes of relocating at some point during the summer.  As for the house, our goal was to have it on the market by end of April in order to meet the prime selling season.  However, on a day trip to Round Top, Texas in early April, CJ was discussing the sale of the house with our friend, Kennette, and she mentioned how much she loved the community.  By the end of their girl’s day, she let CJ know that she would be very interested in looking at the house despite the fact that we still had 101 projects to complete.  When she came by for the walk through, Kennette was amazed by the fact that the floor plan was the exact floor plan of a home that she lived in when her daughter, Bentlee, was small.  What a surreal “Diosidence” (a term coined by our Spanish speaking friends in the Dominican Republic referring to a Godly non-coincidence).  Needless to say, she fell in love with it immediately!  This was a dream come true…and yes, our God is really THAT good!  But here’s the rest of the story…..

In preliminary conversations around the sale price, we discovered that what our friend was hoping to pay was a good bit less than what we expected to list the house for.  However, we also learned that she would not be retaining a realtor (the seller typically pays for the buyer realtor’s commission) so that difference certainly helped fill the gap.  After much prayer and deliberation, I was still unsure as to what we should do given what I expected we would need in order to relocate.  Then CJ made a comment that made me see things in a completely new way.  She mentioned what a blessing our home had been to her and our daughter, Alli, when she was a single mom. She also shared that she would love for our home to be a blessing to another single mom and her daughter. I sensed that was a sign that God was leading us to sell our house to our friend.

We looked at the numbers and figured that we could sell the house at a price very close to our friend’s pre-approved amount. We figured that since she wasn’t going to use a realtor that we could save at least 3 percent, and transfer that savings to our friend by reducing our asking price. We discussed this proposal with our realtor, and he agreed as long as we did all the negotiating without him, to avoid a conflict of interest. Our realtor just handled the paper processing that would be required of the buyer’s realtor. Once our friend and we agreed to a price, we met with our realtor to sign the contract. God’s hands were all over each step of this process. We are so thankful that he worked it out that we did not have to go through the difficulty in keeping the house show ready with five animals living in it while showing it.

We were able to set the closing June 1st; however, that would have left us very little time to find a house in Salida.  Our friend said that she couldn’t get out of her current lease until July 1st, so we worked it into the contract that we would lease the house back to her for the month of June. This was clearly another Diosidence! It worked out that we would have two months to find a house in Colorado, and that our friend would have income to cover her mortgage for the month she wouldn’t be in the house. GOD is Great!

In between doing all the house stuff, I was able to expand the SWR website to make it more like an actual website not just a blog. The site now includes the following pages: Home; About Us (Mission, Statement of Faith, History, and Board of Directors); Adventures; Recent Posts; Contact Us; and Donate. CJ was also able to help me finalize the content that was uploaded to the website. Most of the pages are now self-explanatory, but the Adventures page may not be as clear. The Adventures page describes the various types of trips that SWR will offer, the possible trip duration, and the level of SWR involvement in a particular trip. So if you get a chance, check out the site. We would love to get your feedback on the site.

So, that’s our April adventures following God’s path.

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