Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

September 22, 2019: Cosmos Sunday

From Ray McGinnis


Early this September, I went on a five-day trip from Vancouver to explore two of western Canada’s most beautiful parks in my home province of British Columbia. The first park I explored was Wells Grey Provincial Park, some 1.3 million acres of wilderness protecting the southern and highest regions of the Caribou Mountains. The park is home to over 100 waterfalls, of which only 39 have a name. In the two days I was there, I hiked with a friend to nine of these waterfalls. The best-known is Helmcken Falls, the fourth highest waterfall in Canada. The result of long-ago interactions between volcanic eruptions and glacial activity, it plunges 463 feet over a volcanic plateau. Another remarkable attraction is Spahats Falls, which drops 197 feet into a granite canyon. Spahats is the local indigenous word for bear. Both of these remarkable waterfalls are only a five-minute walk from public parking lots.


A 66-kilometer drive from the town of Clearwater, just outside the park, is Clearwater Lake. Two large campgrounds are located here. Osprey Falls is a low waterfall that the lake empties over to become the Clearwater River. Boat tours, boat rentals and a public boat launch are available here and allow access deeper into Wells Gray Park via Clearwater Lake and Azure Lake. I just had time to take what ended up being a 75-minute electric Duffy boat tour, complete with a fresh smoked trout lunch. From the boat one can see what the locals call Mount Lyons, the tallest peak in the park. At 2,949 meters, it was only “discovered” in 2005 and remains officially unnamed. Before breakfast the first morning, I saw a black bear crossing a meadow about 300 yards away from the lodge I where I was staying.


I spent the next two days visiting the town of Revelstoke, a three-hour drive southeast from Wells Grey Park. The attraction here was Mt. Revelstoke National Park and its Meadows-in-the-Sky Parkway. I’d always passed on visiting this park, having been on route to more popular parks like Banff, Jasper, or Lake Louise. But the visit was breathtaking and exciting too. At the top of the summit (over 6,300 feet) I could see the Monashee Mountains to the west and the Selkirk range to the east.


A hike to Eva Lake was recommended, which was about a 90-minute to two-hour walk each way. On the way, my friend, along with four tourists from Germany, encountered a large grizzly bear in a meadow. It was about 100 yards away, digging at something in the ground. We saw it and it saw us. But it was more interested in what it was digging in the ground. We made some goofy, nervous noises. We had bear spray, but didn’t have to use it. After about ten minutes the grizzly walked up the meadow and disappeared behind a stand of western red cedar. We continued on the hiking trail enjoying paintbrush flowers, pink heather, and glacier lilies. We relaxed beside a most glorious alpine lake. On the way back to the summit parking lot, we learned we were the only people that day to report a bear sighting.


Explore…Proverbs 8:22–31

  • In Proverbs the writer gives voice to creation’s birth, a time before there were waterfalls and mountains. What stands out for you in this passage? What is God’s relationship with the cosmos?
  • Are you the kind of person who visits parks to see firsthand a lake, a waterfall, a mountain, or wildlife? What interested you in Ray McGinnis’ account of the trip he took into the backwoods?
  • What encounters have you had with the natural environment that have made an impression on you?
  • How would you describe your relationship with the natural world?



God of mountains, waterfalls, lakes, meadows, alpine flowers and grizzly bears, we marvel at the vastness and variety of your creation. Help us to find ways to delight in your creation and have firsthand experiences so that we are mindful of its presence and gift to us. Help us to also consider how to conserve a healthy relationship with the earth and walk on it gently. In Christ we pray. Amen.


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