|The Monastery (picture not taken by me)|
Being the season of Lent, it was the perfect time for a retreat. I called up to the abbey to make arrangements for my arrival on Monday night and a subsequent four night stay, with plans to leave early Thursday morning. I would be there a full three days. I planned to bring some spiritual reading, some chants and copies of pages from my breviary, but not much else, other than what was required for the hike itself. I made a point not to bring anything pertaining to work along with me so that I could truly give my time to God.
Unfortunately, most of this planning was all for naught. I left on Sunday after Mass at the Cathedral, heading up City Creek Canyon, where the trail would eventually connect with the Great Western Trail and run along the Wasatch Mountains. As I left the Cathedral, the clouds had already begun to gather. And as I began to head up the canyon, it started to rain. This isn't so bad, I thought, I'm an
|It got even worse than this. I turned back at Mile 5 1/2.|
prevents cars from going further up the canyon, it got a bit colder and began to snow. At first, it wasn't too bad, but it only got worse. I continued on, trusting in God's help but also asking God for the prudence to turn back when necessary. After three long hours of nonstop snow (in April, mind you), I finally decided to turn back (probably a little later than was prudent, but I survived, so it's okay). I got home wet and cold and tired and despondent for failing to accomplish my mission. The worst was that I couldn't try again the next day even if the weather was better because the monastery was expecting me the next night.
|The second day hike: from Ogden to Huntsville|
|Where I prayed Vespers|
Continuing on, I passed by St. Florence Catholic Church, which I did not know existed. I discovered later that it is a mission church of St. Joseph's in Ogden, my old parish from when I lived there. The doors were locked, but I met a young man outside praying in front of a shrine to Mary. I explained to him my pilgrimage and asked for his prayers. As I made my way again, he drove by in his car and offered me a lift, worried that I may not make it to the monastery before the gates closed. Confident in my pace and wanting to preserve what was left of my already halved journey, I declined. I told him I'd pray for him, but I forgot to ask his name. Alas.
|St. Florence Catholic Church|
|The Gate at Twilight|
So ended the first day of my preparatory pilgrimage, and so ends my first post about it. In the second part, I will talk briefly (if possible) about my experiences at the monastery and the journey home.