People love stories of humans against nature. The wild has its allure, and we’ve always seemed drawn to its siren song of potential danger and incredible beauty.
On Sept. 27, Phoenix-based Senior Pastor Luke Barnett, with Dream City Church, and his daughter Annalee, 20, set out on the trek of a lifetime: 800 miles in 40 days.
“Our plan was to do it in 40 days. Twenty miles every single day,” Luke Barnett said, according to AZFamily.
The two weren’t just pitting themselves against the Superstition Mountains for the fun of it (though many do) — they were doing it to raise money for a project based in Colorado to help victims of sex trafficking and polygamy: the Colorado City Dream Center.
“We made a commitment,” Barnett confirmed. “And there’s churches all across America who have sponsored us to finish this trail.”
The determined duo made it almost a month and 500 miles, but on Oct. 24, they encountered disaster.
“Hiking down a canyon at the Superstition Mountains, we stepped on and off a large boulder that was on the trail,” Barnett posted on Dream City Church’s Facebook page. “Somehow this 1500+ pound boulder dislodged and rolled towards Annalee. I shouted a warning and pushed her out of the way. Despite my best attempts to stop the boulder, it rolled on top of me.”
“Annalee was able to pull me out from under the boulder and hike 30 minutes up the mountain to find reception and call 911 for help. They sent an emergency rescue helicopter.”
“As I was lifted out of the ravine in the rescue basket, I didn’t know all my injuries. The next day, we discovered that I had three broken ribs, a broken forearm, a broken hip, a broken femur, and 40 stitches in my right hand. It’s a miracle I’m alive.”
The pastor praised his daughter’s care of him, saying she did all the right things.
“Asked me all the right questions at the time,” he said. “‘Can you feel your feet? Can you feel your hands?’”
And that rock he originally thought might be around 1,500 pounds? Try five times that.
“They’re estimating this boulder was about 8 to 10,000 pounds,” he said.
Even though he had to leave their 800-mile hike, his daughter found another willing participant and the show went on with her father’s blessing while he recovered from his ordeal.
“I remember saying to her right before the chopper picked me up, ‘This hike has to go on. We can’t stop. You’re going to have to finish this thing all by yourself,’” he recalled.
By Nov. 15, Annalee had covered the 800 miles, and Barnett joined her for the last 200 yards of her journey. The desert has taught them both many lessons, but ultimately it has pointed them back to the creator.
“Words cannot express how proud I (@pastorlukebarnett ) am of my daughter, @annalee.barnett !” he posted on Sunday. “At the young age of 20 years old, she has persevered through all the challenges that were met along our ‘Adventure Your Life’ journey. God’s presence was with her and continues to be with her.”
“We called the whole campaign ‘Adventure Your Life,’” the pastor said, “but it turned into being, really, the miracle of our life that we’re even alive today.”
For more information on the campaign and ways to support this worthwhile mission, check out Adventure Your Life.
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