Photos of Schynige Platte, Bernese Oberland

This photo of Schynige Platte is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We were hiking a ridge with 1000 ft drop off on one side. Staggering, heart stopping views of Jungfrau, the highest mountain in Switzerland, with just one valley between us far below.

Rewind this hike to a couple hours before when we had come to a crossroads. The signs said both trails led the same village, our destination. As we puzzled over this, a non-English-speaking couple came near. As we pointed to our map and this sign they indicated that yes, both ways led to the village – one was more direct and the other was the more scenic route. Well, here we were on vacation in the Alps –the scenic route won the day. However, what we didn’t know was that the well worn trail evaporated into a vague mountain track lost in a sea of wild flowers. Only an occasional painted rock indicated that we were (maybe) still going the right way.

Now we were two hours into this choice and beautiful as it was, it seemed to be narrowing while the grade increased. Would this trail end on a cliff or would it, as we had though, at some point ease out into pastureland and eventually the village and bus we were trying to catch for the last leg to the valley.

It looked like we were approaching a summit ahead. We could hear bells. If those were cow bells we were in good shape. No self-respecting cow would find itself stuck on a cliff. But no, we soon discovered we were hearing bells on mountain goats. Not a good sign.

I sent my daughter scrambling up a shale summit to see if she could see if the grade of our trail was going to ease out anytime soon or if we should turn around and go back. Literally out of nowhere a man appeared. He was, of all things, a topographer mapping out this mountain. Talk about grace. He said that yes, the trail did eventually cross the mountain and ease into alpine meadows which would in a few more miles lead us to the village we sought.

We all have cross road experiences: in relationships, in our careers, in our faith walk. The short cut may be the safer choice but God seems to delight at times in leading us to the scenic route. That’s where we find ourselves challenged mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As a result we build faith muscle, relationship strength, and mental and physical stamina. Sometimes these detours are a personal choice, sometimes they are not of our own making. In God’s economy, he will not waste one moment of either. Breathe in that clear air and drink in the views of his presence whether on the mountain top or in the valley, he will never leave you nor forsake you.

-Beverly Elliott

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