“I will lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1
As I sat contemplating the message of these verses, I found myself raising my eyes across the large loping hills surrounding my spot of solitude. Brisk, fresh air whistled through pine trees, while chipmunks frolicked in the throes of youthful ecstasy. Autumn’s wildflowers graced the lush, green, earthy divots behind to the two cabins that have become home to so many.
Nestled high in the mountains near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, Snow Wolf Lodge stands as a beacon of hope for many lost and somnolent youth. Its firmly endowed wooden visage and comfortable architecture invite all to dine near its hearth. Though vast and spacious, both Snow Wolf Lodge and Echo Canyon Lodge can all but contain the joyous sounds of music and laughter, rippling across the echoing valleys.
The expansive rooms that house the Summit Semester students include wooden wardrobes, wooden bedroom sets, and airy, tiled bathrooms. The ligneous study desks are often overflowing with literature and manuscripts of all sorts, as well as letters to home.
Echo Canyon Lodge (which houses the definitively fairer gender), has an expansive common room, where classes and studies take place, and also allows for dancing: which many of the students enjoy.
Snow Wolf Lodge, the larger of the two, houses both the musk of manhood and meals of epic proportions. The banquet hall, in all its homey glory, cannot begin to do the kitchen’s culinary creations justice. Downstairs contains a billiard table, foosball, ping pong, and rounded tables built specifically for card/board games played in a particularly passionate fashion.
Outside and down the hill, a flat sports field contains both a basketball and beach volleyball court. This particular field is also the evening gathering place of weary-eyed students, dragging themselves out again and again to fill their eyes with the wonder of the starlit heavens. Above them is the miracle of the Milky Way belt, ablaze with thousands upon thousands of bright stars.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
The days soon mold into a long cycle of hikes, stargazing, good meals and better friends. Students learn the value of stewardship and hard work, working the land and maintaining the things God has given them. The air is cleaner, and the outdoor calls adventuring souls to explore its vast expanse. As opposed to busy highways and loud neighbors filling in the nighttime silence, here the crickets and creatures of the night call to one another, providing a tranquil ambiance. In the city, overcrowded schedules harass the senses, whereas life at Summit Semester moves slowly, with more opportunity for solitude, prayer and thanksgiving. As the drive to experience more – be a part of more – begins to cloud our days, the peaceful quietude found in this mountain getaway provides a haven for nurturing thought and deep relationships.
“And the angels called to one another saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:3
Makaela Armga joins us from Jacksonville, Florida. She takes special joy in being the hands and feet of Christ by building relationships through meeting the material and physical needs of others. Her efforts toward being the tangible embodiment of the Lord’s love have resulted in hundreds of hours of community service – serving refugees, the homeless, and disadvantaged teenagers and children. She enjoys seeking out relationships in which she can genuinely know and love people while using her gifts of service and passion for the arts. After Summit Semester, Makaela intends to pursue a degree in English Literature at Florida State College at Jacksonville.