The Power of Camaraderie – A Reflection on Hike to Help

Going on 6 years of back packing I have learned the hard way that if you spend enough time on the trail you are bound to take a wrong turn.  This has happened to me twice.  Once in the Colorado mountains where the friendly advice of a trail volunteer of a  “quicker” way back to our base camp turned into a dead end with the sun rapidly setting.  The second time, was on the Ouachita Trail with Chad as we had our sites on an 11 mile day.  At the start of the hike we eagerly headed into the woods following the assuring blue trail markers.  What we did not know at the time was a blue ribbon is not the same as a blue blaze.  Thus resulting in an additional 3 miles tacked on to our 11 mile day.

Thankfully in both situations I had a trusted friend by my side.  A comrade. Together we regrouped, found our markings, discussed options, and agreed upon a plan to get us back on track.  I can’t help but to think what the situation would have felt like if I were alone.  I would truly feel “lost”, overwhelmed, and possibly hopeless.

Just like the trail, if you spend enough time walking through this life you will find yourself on an unexpected path.  Life is hard.  It is full of sickness, hurts, and hang ups.  We hurt the ones we care about and have been hurt by those closest to us.  We have battled illnesses, financial struggles, and grieved the loss of loved ones.  It is in these moments that my hope was found in a God that loves me and knows me and in the friends and family that walked the difficulties with me.  With out them I would have been lost and hopeless.

There is power in camaraderie.  Power to see you through wrong turns and unexpected outcomes.  Power of hope, encouragement, and love.  “By yourself your unprotected but with a friend you can face the worst” Ecclesiastes 4:12 Message.  

Is there someone close to you walking a difficult trail?  What would it look like if you came beside them and eased the burden?  Or is it you that needs a trusted friend as your life has taken an unexpected turn?  There is power in camaraderie.  Let us be open to experience it.

See you in the trail,

Caleb Brown 

PS – Hike to Help is an annual hike along some portion of the Ouachita Trail in Arkansas/Oklahoma. This year the dates are  January 12-13, 2019. This is an opportunity to set a goal of strapping on a 40 pound back pack, hiking 5 miles a day, sleeping overnight in a tent, and yes doing your business in the woods!

I’d love to invite you to be a part of Hike to Help. It’s fun, it’s challenging, you will build some new friendships. This is a co-ed trip so everyone is welcome!

The cost is $200 which funds your entire trip, backpacking gear if you need, and most of all you will help fund the mentoring initiatives of Loving Community which helps boys and young men not only dream, but have the tools they need to achieve their life goals.

For more information contact Jim Mustain at To sign up for the hike follow this link:


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