“You must have a good home, and a very good mother.” She says unequivocally that she does. “That prayer is beautiful and it is childlike. Having a childlike, simplistic understanding of God is helpful to knowing God. That understanding or knowledge of God will grow when you learn more about God from the Bible. The first thing a person learns is God has a name, Jehovah. Many ideas we have about Jehovah do not come from the Bible. They come from mostly nice, but totally misguided people. A person has to study the Bible to understand Jehovah. Then as their faith grows the love and power of Jehovah is theirs. It is practically impossible to do it by yourself. When you go home contact Jehovah’s Witnesses. We’re everywhere. Your science education will make it harder for you, but if you stick with it and are honest with yourself you will get there, see, and believe.”
“Right now I’m not sure what I’ll do.” She sits there with a long, drawn-out look on her face. She is thinking how will she ever do all she wants to do. I change the subject.
I ask, “Why do you come all this way from Zealand Falls Hut on your day off?”
“I have three days off every two weeks,” she says. “I spend time with a guy who works here. That is him over there,” and she turns to the side and points to a tall bearded young man working in the kitchen. “It takes me a day to get here, and a day to get back. I spend a full day here.”
As I scoop a second helping of food from the side bowls I think to myself how could she possibly cover that distance in a single day. First, there is an easy hike, flat and downhill from Zealand Falls Hut to Crawford Notch. From there she must take the shuttle to Pinkham Notch. From Pinkham Notch there is a long, steep uphill and a rigorous hike the rest of the way. I didn’t ask her how she managed to go that far that fast. It was possible. She passed me on the ledge between Pinkham Notch and Carter hut that day. It could be done. I thought to myself I hope that guy appreciates how much she must love him.
She was done talking to me and said she had to go help in the kitchen. My mouth was full so I just waved goodbye. When I finished eating I got up, went outside, got my pack, and headed for the bunk house. There was new smelling wood in there and thermal pane windows. I rolled out my sleeping bag, got in, zipped it up, and went happily to sleep. I was thankful not to be sleeping outside in the cold, blustery wind.
In the morning it is the custom in all of the huts that one of the staff wakes everyone up with a song or in that place it was banging on a tambourine. That meant breakfast would be ready in half an hour. It was still dark outside and one by one from the light of our headlamp we found our way to the main building. Inside hot coffee was ready and a hot breakfast was almost ready. It was luxurious to have that considering we were on a trail in the woods at the foot of a gigantic mountain. The staff hustled and bustled in the kitchen.
After breakfast I was ready for the climb up Carter Mountain. I went back to the bunk house to roll up my sleeping bag and pack my pack. It was getting light outside. It didn’t take long to be on my way and once outside my path intersected with the path of the gazelle. She slept late where the staff sleeps in the main building and was hurriedly on her way from there to the latrine house. I was glad to see her and said so. I thanked her for keeping me company at diner the night before and also for the meaningful conversation we had. It was the first time we stood together and the first time I realized how tall she was. She said she had something to ask me but had to go there first pointing to the latrine house. I said I would wait and off she went.
I had my pack on my back and was ready to move North. She on the other hand was about to enjoy a day-off. Her boy-friend had to work. As she walked to where I was standing I wondered what she was going to do all day, but I did not ask. “Does Jehovah give us what we ask for,” she asked?
I was amazed what she asked. “Jehovah knows our behavior. If we’re counted as one of His people and ask according to his will then we get what we ask for. If we ask for peace in dealing with a situation then we get peace. We handle it with confidence knowing God is with us. If the situation disappears it is because with Gods help we are courageous and strong. If it doesn’t disappear the situation ceases to matter, because again with Gods help we understand it is nothing in view of the big picture.” She asks what is the big picture? “It sounds like you’re interested. I strongly suggest you contact Jehovah’s Witnesses when you get home.”
“I’m curious,” I say. “What do you do all day?” She says when all the hikers leave the work is mostly done until the late afternoon when more hikers arrive. She says she and her boy-friend talk or walk by the lake. “Sounds nice to me,” and with a smile say goodbye.
It was a slow go out of there. I didn’t carry a tent, stove, or meals. I traveled with a 35 pound pack and a few candy bars expecting to stay each night in one of the huts where there was shelter and food. When I left Carter Hut I went four miles, and slept under the stars. When I got in my sleeping bag I was looking straight up at the sky. There were trees there but mostly sky. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. When was the last time I was lying on my back looking up at the sky and when it got dark, the stars. Probably when I was a child camping in the back field at home. My headlamp and rain poncho were at hand so I wouldn’t have to grope for them in the dark.