Regarding “Spiritual takeaways of hiking,” Aug. 6, Page 14:

When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (finishing in August 2013), I said the Lorica of St. Patrick at the start of each day. I found it to be a very appropriate morning prayer on the trail. I would sometimes add to the prayer and pray for protection from bears and cougars, from snakes and scorpions, from mosquitos and bees, from cryptosporidium and giardia.

I also prayed the Jesus prayer and variations while hiking: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy of me, a sinner.”

While hiking, I composed a prayer to the Father and one to the Holy Spirit and one to Mary, which I said while hiking. While saying these prayers I was easily distracted by the beauty of the scenery or meeting other hikers on the trail.

At least eight years ago I was contacted by Backpacker Magazine to write a hiker’s prayer. Here is the edited version they printed:

Dear Lord, I ask that the hikers find relief from sore feet, aching muscles, painful joints, discomfort in the shoulders from wearing lead-like backpacks, and from chafing in certain parts of the body that might not be in good taste to state in a printed prayer.

I pray that their unquenchable thirst and insatiable hunger will be satisfied in a timely manner.

With your help and the help of my fellow hikers, I ask that any lingering doubts of their ability to complete their hike will be dispelled for good.


Editor’s note: Fr. Donoghue is pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Southeast Portland. While on the trail one year, he snuffed a small fire in the Diamond Peak wilderness north of Crater Lake. Fellow hikers soon started calling him “Hotshot” in tribute to the famed wildland firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service.