With an elevation of 20, 237 feet, Mt. Mckinley is the highest mountain peak in North America. Our highest elevation, east of the Mississippi river is in the Appalachian Mountains. It is Mt. Mitchell at 6,683. That means Mt. McKinley’s summit is 3 times our highest peak. You would think with a summit that high, you absolutely couldn’t miss it, but the truth is; it’s actually difficult to see.
You are supposed to be able to see it from Earthquake Park in Anchorage, but it was too overcast for us to see it.
And you are supposed to be able to see it at the University in Fairbanks, but the smoke from a wildfire clouded our view.
So without a single glimpse of the famous mountain we were on the road again. There’s only one road to Denali National Park, the official address of North America’s highest mountain. Wayne drove and I gawked. I usually read or write when I travel, but since it had been playing hide and seek our entire trip, my eyes were glued on the scenery.
I gasped out loud at the sight directly in front of us. It towered above the mountains in the foreground. It looked like our road would end at the eyeballs of the towering giant, which seem to be blocking our road ahead. Then just as quickly as it had appeared; it was gone, obscured by the mountains in the foreground.
My heart stopped beating. Was that it? Had we really seen the imposing Mt. McKinley regally crowned with dazzling, white snow? I was overpowered by its majesty. It was more magnificent than I had imagined. I only saw a jaw dropping glimpse and then it was gone.
When I could talk, I gasped, “Was that the mountain? Was that the real Mt. McKinley?” I gushed returning my gaze to the windshield, trying desperately to see it again. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to see it again. I wanted to stop and back up…or run back…or pull over to the side of the road…or grab my camera, but we couldn’t do that. When we didn’t see anymore of the mountain, I reassured myself that we would see more of it in the Denali Park.
Denali National Park.
Wayne parked the car and I headed for the information center. I love signs.
- Historical markers.
- Information centers.
- I normally want to read every single word on every display.
- But in Denali National Park, I wasn’t interested.
I wanted more of him, dear, magnificent Mr. McKinley!
No cars were allowed beyond a certain point.
Visitors that didn’t want to ride their bike or walk were taken into the park on a bus. Several tours were offered but we had to wait.
They insisted you read the safety information.
- I was impatient.
- I had no desire to read anything.
- I wanted another look at him!
So I waited.
I read. It was interesting. But I wanted to see him again! Finally, we boarded the bus and we were on our way. Do I sound like a 5 year old? Well, I can tell you I felt like one.
Then, I heard some alarming news
…not about the grizzlies
or the huge, strong moose with babies this time of year…well, that was a little alarming,
but something else got my attention.
The park ranger said we might not see Mt. McKinley at all.
My heart dropped.
Not see him? NOT SEE HIM?
The driver promised to stop the vehicle if he spotted any wildlife, but at that point, I only wanted to see HIM!
Nine miles into the park the bus driver stopped and pointed to his left. “There it is.”
I was so glad I was on the left side of the bus so I could see it…see him. Do you know how slow people can move when you are anxious?
“You’re lucky! No clouds.” the bus driver explained.
It was great, but I had expected our view to be closer.
- I wanted more.
- I was way too far away from him.
- I wanted to get a closer view.
It’s here that I stop “my bus”
to tell you I have experienced a glory more wonderful than that of Mt. McKinley.
It is the presence of God! And you’re right…
there’s just no comparison. The glory of His presence is life changing. The glory of His presence is so far beyond description that I can only tell you it is my life’s passion.
And I long for His presence with the same intensity that I wanted to get closer to that enormous mountain.
I want more of Jesus. He is so wonderful! So loving. So awesome. I love Jesus! I love Him!
And the thing that breaks my heart is some people live their entire lives without ever experiencing His presence or His love. I don’t want anyone to be left scratching their heads wondering if His presence is real or if it’s even available.
We don’t have to wonder. We don’t have to guess. No one does. You can experience His GLORY first hand. You can be wrapped in His love that is so luscious that it is indescribable! I can only say you have to experience it.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13
This verse is right after the “good plan God has for us” verse that we love to quote so much!
We can experience Him when we draw near to Him with a pure heart.
(let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22)
We can experience Him when we worship Him.
Worship is not about a song. It comes from a heart that has fallen in love with Jesus.
We enter His presence through the gates of praise and the door of worship. We enter with surrender. And there we are made aware of His majestic presence, Whose grandeur exceeds Mt. McKinley.
I know I’ll never climb Mt. McKinley. But, spiritually in God’s presence, I do what this guy is doing at Mt. McKinley’s summit—I celebrate.
I celebrate that the Creator of the Universe is great and mighty…and He sees me!
Links about Mt. McKinley
Don’t forget to share.
I’ll have more on Thursday on “Lessons I Learned from Mt. McKinley”.