“Where No Man Has Gone Before”

  • Pete Johnson
Man holding his arms out on top of a large rock

There are two things that I really liked as a kid, Sci-Fi space movies, and hiking. I grew up watching the original series of Star Trek, and romping through the swamps and creeks of Bayou George, Florida. As an older kid, I still like those two things! Answering why I like those two things; I would answer because they are adventurous. I like to see and do things that no one else has done. Friends that I hike with know that if given the chance I will go off-trail and “boldly go where no man has gone before!”. Or at least verbally say out loud, “I bet that no other human has been up here before.” Now granted, there have been some places that I’ve hiked to that I’m kind of sure that no other human has stepped there, however, there have been places, that if I was a betting man, I would say there is no way another human has been here. And why would I say that? Well, to begin with, one mile straight up and 6 hours to finish the round trip up and down would be a good reason. 

Several years back a friend and I took off on an exploratory hike in early Spring. We choose a route that for sure was not a route, but we made it so. We scrambled up and over rocks and cliffs, through Alder and snow. It was an extremely demanding hike. We finally made it to the top to behold a place, that for sure no human had ever set their foot upon! I even said to my friend, “I would bet that we’re the only humans to ever be up here.”  You see there was no trailhead, no trail whatsoever from any direction. We found ourselves in a strange new world. It was high above the Turnagain arm overlooking Falls Creek. It was the top of the mountain, but it resembled a pasture. It was an incredible encounter. Drinking in the experience of being the first humans to reach this spot, we began walking around the green grassy pasture. As we walked, something caught my eye, something out of place. From a distance, it looked like a man-made object, but no it couldn’t be! No other humans could have possibly been up here. As I walked closer, it was as I had feared, a human, other than myself had stepped on this very soil! There, on the grass, beside a large rock set a satellite phone! The difficulty of the ascent had humbled me physically, but now, the knowledge that someone else had gotten up here injured my pride. We stayed up there for a little while longer and then made our descent from that heavenly realm.                    

To make a long story short, I called the number on the sat phone and my friend and I met up with the owner at a nearby coffee shop not too long after we had descended.  He was more than willing to give us a reward for returning his expensive piece of communication equipment, yet all we wanted were answers. “How in the world did you get up there”? “Was there a trail that we missed?” He described to us his journey to the top, which seemed to be as grueling, if not more so than ours, yet from another direction. He had sat beside that large rock to rest, eat, and drink, that is when his sat phone fell out of his pack. He was planning on going back up to the top that weekend to look for it. Come to find out, this man, who had been there before us, was a “professional” climber. He had climbed most of all the major peaks in the world and had even written a book about his days growing up in rural Alaska. His question to us was, “How in the world did you two get up there?” “I only know of two other climbers who have ever been up there.”  He was impressed that we had made it to the top. 

Life can be like that adventure. Sometimes we feel as though we are the only ones going through what we are dealing with. When you are experiencing a life-altering moment, it can feel like no other human knows what it is like, and you are all alone. Psalm 142 is a reminder that even when you feel like no one else has been through what you are going through, and even if you are the first to experience a difficult thing – God knows and God cares. So that you “can boldly go where no man has gone before” –but you may want to bring bear spray and a sat phone!


142 With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
    with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
    I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit faints within me,
    you know my way!
In the path where I walk
    they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
    there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.

I cry to you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
    for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
    for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
    that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
    for you will deal bountifully with me.