All posts by Jesse Maxwell

Mount of the Holy Cross

Here is the awesome report of the Mount of the Holy Cross. Enjoy the climb with Anna, Jesse, and Mary!


We left the cabin just before 2 am, bound for Mount of the Holy Cross; it felt early but there was a nice moon when we started. It began raining part way through the drive but by the time we reached the turn for the dirt road, it lightened to a drizzle. That dirt road took us up onto the mountain, and as we climbed, it became clear we had entered a thick cloud.

We arrived at the trailhead around 4:30 am to complete darkness and heavy mist: good thing we brought our lights (just kidding, we always do that). The forecast predicted it to be a beautiful dayclearly, they were just referring to the “day” part of the day.

We started at the wrong trailhead (because us) but followed a social path to the right trail (because GPS). We occupied ourselves with much interesting conversation on the way up, and as the sun rose, we kept expecting (really, “hoping”) the clouds to clear off. The drizzle changed to sleet and then to snow. Even though the sun had risen, the visibility remained minimal. As we climbed above the treeline, the wind grew stronger, and it always felt great when we got to enjoy a switchback where we faced away from the wind.
We had decided to do a variant of the route on the way up. This approach allowed us to do a full circle instead of the standard out and back. The neat thing about the route is that it took us right by the Notch Mountain Shelteran impressive stone hut built in the 1930s for religious groups who made pilgrimages to Notch Mountain in order to see the nearly 1,500’ tall cross couloir on Mount of the Holy Cross (essentially gullies that intersect). Notch Mountain stands opposite the Mount of the Holy Cross and the cross is dazzling when snow lays in the couloir.

Inside the Notch Mountain Shelter

We were a bit chilly by the time (7:45 am) we reached the ridge upon which the shelter was built. We welcomed the reprieve from the wind and snow that it provided. The view, of course, was quite unremarkableonly about 100 yards of ridge which disappeared into clouds racing by. We unsuccessfully attempted to warm up inside the shelter while taking opportunities to look out the large window occasionally.

We hoped the storm would clear and celebrated the signs of sunshine and blue sky that started around 8:30 am. Then the most stunning moment cameone that we were all so awe-struck by we didn’t think to grab any pictures.

The clouds cleared enough that we could see across the bowl to the Mount of the Holy Cross. The cross couloir had a layer of snow in it which dramatically set it off from the dark rock around. A photo wouldn’t have captured half the sight anyway, so perhaps it was ok to just leave in our minds. The vertical gully stretched from near the bottom of the giant face to the top with a slanted shelf appearing like a crossbeam that ran horizontally almost the width of the mountain.

Enjoying our first glimpse of the sun!

The clouds continued to clear until we were at last surrounded by big, open sky. This was more like it. At 9:30, we considered all the conditions and decided we were ready to press on. Let the work begin!

Not limited to the trail which ended at the shelter, we bid it farewell and started the 3-mile trek across the ridge over to the summit. By this time, the snow had melted from the cross couloir, and it was only then that we realized the magnitude of the beautiful gift God gave us in allowing us to see it with snow.

We greatly enjoyed the route across, and the weather stayed nice the rest of the day. It was a bit strenuous due to the terrain and the fact that we only dropped below 13,000’ once the entire ridge. We also crossed two ranked 13ers and an unranked one on the way over so there was good up and down. This traverse offered terrific views of the surrounding region.

Notch Mountain Shelter is the circled in this photo.

Triumphant arrival on the summit
Our summit selfie
Mary and Jesse enjoying the views

By early afternoon we made our final ascent and summited the Mount of the Holy Cross. So far, we had seen no other climbers, and we had the summit to ourselves. The views were spectacular, and we took in every bit of beauty we could during the short time we were on the summit. Looking back across the bowl to our lovely Notch Mountain Shelter was rewarding as it stood as a tiny spec on that giant ridge.

You can barely see the shelter as a bump on the far ridge.

After refueling, we started descending and enjoyed the excellent route and the warm sunshine, while trying not to let the wind knock us over. In the valley, we stopped at a lush mountain stream to refill our water before climbing 1,000’ over Half Moon Pass. This part ended our singularity as we passed a steady stream of other hikers coming in to camp in the lovely valley. Some of them looked well prepared and others didn’t look prepared at allwe hope they all had a good time.

We reached our car late afternoon and celebrated the amazing day and the neat memories we had made together. While it was one of our last 14ers in that range, we decided it was the prettiest. We were so grateful that God cleared the weather off (had it kept snowing we would have turned around) and the amazing opportunity to see the cross couloir with snow it.

Jesse, Anna, and Mary

“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust,
for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.”
Isaiah 2:10

A Backpacking Trip for John and Jesse

A while back, John and I decided that we should go on a backpacking trip together. We knew that with our work and the rest of life, we needed to simply schedule a trip or else it would never happen. Sometime a few months ago we decided on a weekend in the middle of May. Due to some unrelated things that came up, we pushed the trip off for two weeksto the first weekend in June. This ended up working out incredibly well as Colorado had a very large snowstorm the weekend we had originally chosen. Honestly, when we first put the date on the calendar, we didn’t think at all about snow. Either way, with the date set, we collected the necessary gear and chose our destinationthe Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness area in the Elk Mountain range of Colorado.

John and Jesse heading out on a backpacking trip.

We left early Thursday for the 12 hour drive. We picked up snowshoes in Denver on our way up to the mountains. We arrived at the trailhead mid-afternoon and hiked a few miles up the valley that evening. About a mile or two into it, we came across a few black bears who were near the trail. Fortunately, though, we didn’t have trouble with bears during our time. In that area, it is required that food be stored in bear canisterslarge plastic containers that are supposed to be bear “proof.” I suppose seeing the bears confirmed to us that there were indeed bears in the area.

Jesse, just before making coffee

Trying out the snowshoes.

The next day we spent a while snowshoeingwhich was a great experience. They effectively prevented “post-holing” but also made traversing hills a bit less convenient. We eventually decided to turn around when the terrain became fairly steep and the snow structure had changed to where the top layer kept sliding on us. While the trail formed a loop, we opted to come back around and go up the other valley (where the loop would be coming down).

We hiked down, around, and into the other valley. That trail was more established, and the valley was even prettier than the first. Our campsite that evening would be difficult to improve on. It was situated in a large, clearing within easy walking distance of a rushing mountain stream. It felt wonderful to be in such a beautiful place and disconnected from cell service.

Our campsite on Friday night.
A beautiful view up the stream.
A view of Snowmass Mountain.

After a hot breakfast the next morning, we set off up the lovely valley. At one point, we got a terrific view of one of the Elk’s 14ersSnowmass Mountain. The views the entire trip were great. Further up the valley was an interesting stream crossing. A log jam had formed over the swollen lake/river and was the only “dry” route across. Fortunately, some of the logs were stable.

A picture of John and the lake below

We then hiked and snowshoed through the beautiful forest above the lake. I liked how quiet and serene it was. Even though it was melting quickly, the snow was still quite deep. The whole environment made for a very peaceful setting.

On a beautiful overlook over the valley.
Our tent, on the last night up the valley.
Almost at the trailhead
Back at the trailhead

We took it easy on the last day of our trip. After waking up with the sunrise, we made coffee, broke camp, and then hiked out. It was a great trip, and John and I had a fantastic time together. I don’t believe the pictures adequately communicate how pretty the scenery was. Even though I was tired at the end of each day, it was very refreshing to spend those three days in the beauty of God’s creation. And, if any of you are interested in going backpacking and haven’t before, here are a few things we learned as first-timers:

  • Everything takes watercooking, coffee, hydrationand it costs time and hand warmth to filter it.
  • Trekking poles (with baskets for snow) are great tools to prevent unintentionally and frequently sitting down when traversing snow.
  • Bears aren’t the only mammals interested in food itemsmarmots sure are too.
  • Melting snow on the edge of water can break when stepped on.

 

While we have been tent camping before, John and I enjoyed taking it up a level by fully disconnecting for a few days. The Snowmass wilderness area is remote and absolutely beautiful.

Jesse

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
Psalm 8:3-4

Life is Always Precious and Equal

We decided to take the following blog comment and respond to it in a new blog post.

Dear Maxwells,

Being pregnant while also scared to have a baby is not an easy situation. I would like to know, what do you do to support women in such situations? Do you volunteer to help local single mothers who accidentally got pregnant and are struggling with their baby? Even if they are not Christians? What about pregnant women who themselves have serious health issues (for example cancer), making it difficult to carry a baby to term, are you reaching out to them? Would any of you consider adopting a baby from a woman who was assaulted and got pregnant, and did not want to raise the child? — Annie


Annie,

To me, your questions come across as representative of many throughout this country who attempt to justify abortion. You mention that being pregnant while scared to have the child is not an easy situation, but that makes it sound as if the burden of guilt that a mother carries after ending the life of her child is easier. Just the other day a woman told me, with tears, of the guilt that she still had many years after her abortion. The pain doesn’t go away nor does their God forget the life of their child. Just because raising a child is difficult does not and cannot make it right to end her life.

One example I use is that those who minister for life at abortion mills are like a person who desperately tries to flag down drivers who are speeding toward a collapsed bridge. It seems to me that whether that person was able to get in the vehicle and drive the person on a detour is irrelevant to the fact that there still is danger ahead. That said, we take part and are surrounded by a group of people who care for the lives of the unborn and each of us fulfill various aspects of meeting the needs of mothers (regardless of their faith). Still, there are far too few of us: would you be willing to join?

While it may be an inconsequential detail, there is no such thing as an unplanned or accidental pregnancy. Man-made intervention does fail at times, but every person is wonderfully and intentionally made regardless of whether her parents were surprised or not.

To concisely answer your questions: yes, we reach out to all the women who seek to abort their child regardless of the difficulty of their situation, their health, or under what circumstances the child they carry was conceived. This is because we seek to love our neighbor as ourself.

It is interesting to me that you would make it sound as if abortion could be acceptable for a woman who had a grave health issue. I suspect you would also consider a firefighter, who risked, or even gave his life to enter a burning building to save someone else’s child, a hero. In the same way, shouldn’t the mom with a serious health issue be encouraged that the life of her baby is worthy of being saved, too, even if her life is in danger?  

While so many attempt to devalue the role of a mother, the truth remains that there is no greater commission. Getting help is not the concern, as it is certainly available. It is the recognition of life and the consideration that all are equal, regardless of their age, that is most essential.

Jesse

“And of some have compassion, making a difference.”
Jude 22

Sharing Christ: Part 3, Jesse’s Thoughts

Jesse’s Thoughts: I enjoyed the opportunity to go to the fair and witness last week. I spent most of the time walking through the carnival area looking for a chance to give a tract to and speak with young people. A number of the groups were interested in talking, and we had enjoyable conversations as a result. There were some who participated politely and then others who moved on. I appreciated every young person who took the time to talk about their eternal destiny, and I pray that the Lord might use the discussions to bring them to Him.

One of guys that I talked with and remember in particular was at the previous fair that we had gone to and had been part of a group of guys that I engaged with at that point. This time, though, he was with a different friend and as we were starting into a discussion about what he thought, he encouraged me to take his friend through the Good Person Test. His friend was extremely interested and thoughtful about what would happen to him after he died. The Lord also blessed us with nice weather that night which made for a great time altogether.

Serving Jesus,
Jesse

DSC_7507DSC_7625

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and
yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
James 2:10

7 Reasons Why I Plan to Homeschool My Children

If the Lord brings a wife for me at some point and then gives us children, I would love for us to homeschool them. Here’s why:

  1. The Bible tells us to “teach [God’s commandments] diligently unto thy children”. Homeschooling allows us to carry out everything in this verse as best as we can. Deuteronomy 6:7, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
  2. We could provide quality academics. For one example, I would like my children not to be part of the significant percentage of high school graduates who don’t know how to read.

    Bullying Stops Here
    A sign that we noticed “guarding” an AZ school.
  3. We could use Christian-based, educational materials that do not teach evolution and other godless ideologies that usually permeate secular textbooks and instruction. I have a friend who attends public school (in another part of the country) and has told me some of the unbiblical and ungodly things that are being taught in his school.
  4. The home is a sheltered environment that affords protection from worldly influences such as coarse language and potentially undesirable behavior among classmates.
  5. I would have no concerns about my children being bullied as is prevalent on school campuses.
  6. They would be physically safe in our home from mentally deranged individuals preying on groups of defenseless children.
  7. We could guide their behavior. From my observation of child-training, immediate and consistent direction is far better than when it is delayed and inconsistent.
Jesse Maxwell standing in arch
Jesse Maxwell standing in an arch

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;”

Deuteronomy 4:9