News and Articles

These three articles were written by Neil in 2004 and are included here to give readers and guests further insight into foundational thoughts behind the establishment of Hidden Springs Retreat and Guest House.


"He leads me in paths of righteousness"

Using the trails is just part of what people do at Hidden Springs year round. It is not uncommon to welcome arrivals late in the day only to find them heading out for a short walk or ski with little or no light left. Such is the call some feel to enjoy the woods.

Not unlike God himself a trail in the woods is a gentleman. It does not force itself on the one who uses it. Yet it invites. It leads off in a direction though no two travelers experience it the same. There is both safety and adventure.

Years before the helicopters started chop-chopping up the Cline Valley I planned a solo trip into Pinto Lake from the Kooteney Plains side. Some of you may know this enticing piece of the Rockies and that the hike is a good 44km using the current Recreation Trail. What you may not know is that the old Forestry Access map for the Whitegoat Wilderness only showed a longer guess-and-by-golly trail on the north side of the Cline River. I never found even that. For two solid days of that hike I had no trail. No faint depressions, no blaze or wear marks that showed me that others had come this way in recent memory. With the contour map I compassed my way accurately enough and knew roughly what to anticipate up ahead. But the bushwhacking and niggling sense that I was well 'off the beaten track' prevented my full enjoyment of such soaring summits as the Whitegoat Peaks and Minster Mountain.

The chest-deep fords on Macdonald and Cataract Creeks left me drenched and squishy-footed. But later as the day's light faded I picked up the faint outlines of an old horse track. Years of neglect had left many deadfalls over the route. Just as darkness came the path showed clear definition and my relief could finally yield to exhaustion and rest. I didn't even set up the tent.

The 'call of the wild' is perhaps not all it is cracked up to be. I for one like a trail in the midst of the unkempt beauty. God has provided such a path. The landscape of life is more rugged than most expect. Some travelers bushwhack through dense trees uncertain that a grand view from a ridge or hillside will never appear. Others find it hard to remember where they spotted their last spiritual benchmark. Not to mention where to journey from there.

Akin to Bunyan, perhaps we could stretch tradition and add 'Trails' to the spiritual disciplines! There is a submission to the trail; one has to let it lead. The route it follows is established by a prior knowledge of the lay of the land. Then, sure that the way is laid, the hiker is free not simply to hike, but to experience all that the Trailmaker has to offer.

Neil White

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