One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of its brother. There was no trail, just a compass to keep our bearings among the trees.

And then the trees broke and we hit the pipeline. We knew where we were! Roughly.

We headed north along the pipeline. At this point, we’d probably been hiking for eight hours or so.

We’d run out of water in the swamp, so Chris had broken out the iodine pills and we were drinking handkerchief-filtered swamp water. It smelled like toilet-water and tasted like iodine.

My shoes were wet from the swamp.

My pack felt like it would grind me down into the soft ground.

I was so tired I could have cried.

And then somebody ahead of me started singing a hymn.

We all knew it, so we all joined in and Steve picked out harmonies.

We trudged north along the pipeline, trees towering up on either side of us, praising God for his faithfulness and his love.

The sun went down.

It was overcast and dark, so our flashlights came out.