A Guide's Thoughts on a Non-Glamorous Adventure

I roll up to the doors of a partner ministry, Cup of Cool Water, on an already warm mid-August morning. I had been guiding trips all summer, but already I knew this one would be different. Cup of Cool Water is a nonprofit organization in downtown Spokane that provides relief and support for youth who are experiencing homelessness, and I got the chance to take them backpacking. A bit nervous, I readied myself with a deep breath and stepped out of our van to meet them.

What followed was one of the most challenging yet rewarding trips I had ever been on. No trip goes without challenge, and this trip had its fair share, but at its closing I had this deep sense that this trip was exactly as God meant it to be. Each of the young adventurers got a chance to share who they were in an environment that wouldn’t air judgment but acceptance. I quickly learned that though their packs were full, it was their souls that were the heaviest.

To give you a glimpse of the trip, here is an excerpt of a journal entry I wrote about the trip.

“After John’s [name changed] first breakdown on the trail to the lake, between the tears I could hear, ‘I just didn’t know how hooked I was.’ John later shared with his group leader that this was the most fun he’s had in a long time. It’s these God-given moments we need to remember when all we see is rage. God loves John, and John reflects God’s name. That can be hard to see at times, but I know it’s true.”

This wasn’t a glamorous trip, but it was a real one. And for just one week we could give these young men a chance to experience life away from the streets, away from homelessness.

Joseph feeling stoked an adventure earlier in the summer.

They traded the hostile city streets for abundant mountain streams. Instead of worrying about where they would get food, or whether they would be safe that night, they could sit by alpine lakes, or at the foot of the mountains and experience peace. That makes it all worth it.

To be a part of an organization that can give kids like these a trip in the mountains is truly incredible. It was not a perfectly glamorous trip, but it was just that–truly incredible.

Joseph Roberts, Ascent Guide 2018