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Blood Mountain

Hiking four miles in three hours, my legs screamed for rest, my throat was parched, and a 50-pound backpack was rubbing a fast-rising blister on my shoulder. My hiking buddy and I were making a steady ascent up Springer Mountain, where we hoped to spend the night. We were also discovering that a week's hiking was going to be tougher than we thought.

The top of Springer was still a mile away, and the finish line of our journey an incomprehensible 32 miles beyond that.

Watching the sweat fall from my brow, it occurred to me that I was going to a great deal of trouble to get away from my ministry obligations for a few days.

The idea to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail had come to me on one of those weeks when the phone rang incessantly, when a long list of administrative duties and counseling needs filled my Daytimer, and when Sunday's unfinished sermon was bearing down like a line of thunderstorms toward my Central Georgia home.

Dream big, plan well, choose companions carefully

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