The Crosscut and Massacre Grounds trailhead usually has only a few cars parked in the dirt lot on the side of the First Water turnoff, but today we struggle to find a parking spot in the rows and rows of vehicles. The trailhead is named after a group of miners who lost their lives here in the 1800s, purportedly by a group of Apaches. Jacob Waltz, a Dutchman, claimed to have found that mine, but took the secret location to his grave, adding one more story to the legends and lore that surround these mountains.
We are not joining the thousands who have gone searching for the gold hidden in the area, but have taken the 45-minute drive from our home because we are looking for a different type of treasure.
Snow in the desert.
We cross the creek bed several times before climbing a gentle slope to a saddle. A dusting of snow covers the surrounding cholla and brittlebush, but our destination lies before us. The Superstitions are clothed in white.
Mollie, our rust-colored mutt, does not know what to think of her first frozen adventure. She stays on the trail, but as we stop to take photos of saguaros and prickly pear with their uncommon winter hats, Mollie forgets her fear and bounds after birds and other creatures, her tail a curled flag behind her.
The snow deepens as we dip into a narrow basin, the trail hedged by mesquite and hop sage bushes, the pink flowers peeking out of their white blanket.
“It’s like Narnia,” my husband comments as we step around boughs weighted with snow, referring to a scene from the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The children in the story find themselves accidentally entering the world of Narnia through a wardrobe or closet.
As they step further in, pushing their way through the winter coats, the children are surprised by how much room is inside. Fur coats give way to pine boughs. Wooden floors give way to snow-covered paths.
Although it had first appeared small and confining, the wardrobe actually was a doorway to great adventure. The lives of the children would never be the same.
Cheryl Sacks and Arlyn Lawrence write in their book, Prayer-Saturated Kids, “[The children] discovered when they stepped into the wardrobe, the inside was larger than the outside” and “that the further up and further in you go, the bigger everything gets.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NLT) states, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.”
God’s deep secrets. I long for that here on the trail, in the desert. The thought intrigues me. Speaks to something inside me. More than secret gold lost in these hills, I desire to discover God’s deep secrets here in the new year. In my life. In my writing.
What a treasure!
As the sun warms the mountain, we stop and listen. After quieting our breathing, we experience something I have never heard before: the sound of the desert melting.
Sometimes new sounds … deep secrets … can only be heard in the standing still. The stillness beckons me to leave my ordinary world and discover Narnia.
Is it time for you to enter into that place? To quiet your life and meet God? To step further in and discover how much bigger everything gets as you open the door to prayer and enter the world of God’s secrets?
Perhaps if you are quiet enough, you will experience your own melting and you will find yourself walking on snow-covered paths that lead you to adventure.
Against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Lynne Hartke writes stories of courage, beauty and belonging–belonging to family, to community and to a loving God. Her book, Under a Desert Sky, was released in May 2017 with Revell/Baker Publishing. You can find Lynne on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This post originally appeared on her blog at www.lynnehartke.com when it snowed on New Year’s Day 2015.