Putting on Our Spiritual Hiking Boots: Lessons from Mt Ida

There we were, 20 years ago hiking up Mount Ida in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It was a tough 5 mile trek up to the nearly 13,000′ peak—a significant climb even if you are in good shape which Ed and I were back then. What made this hike especially difficult were the many large boulders we had to clamber over. With my short legs—well—you get the picture.

The rock scrambling really slowed us down. But we finally made it! The view at the top was spectacular with a 360° view. It was definitely worth the effort!

We rested, ate, and savored the glorious sight. Knowing we shouldn’t dilly dally, we reluctantly started downward. Colorado mountains are notorious for their afternoon thunderstorms and it was getting late.

Ed, being a wonderful protective husband, decided we would try a different route down to avoid the boulders. But then we lost the trail! Eventually he told me to stay put while he attempted to relocate the trail. When he got back, he said, panting “I have good news, and bad news.”

“What’s the good news?” I asked with hope in my voice.

“The good news is I found the trail. The bad news is there’s a storm brewing and the trail is that way,” as he pointed up to an area filled with boulders!

Well, it’s one thing to be psychologically geared up to ascend a mountain, but quite another to have to climb it again. Not to mention we were already weary from our journey. It was doubly hard.

We trudged along as quickly as we could. The sky got worse and soon it was raining. Fear gripped me as I envisioned twisting my ankle or falling over the rocks. Plus, we were above tree-line—on tundra, which meant we were the tallest things at that spot! So if lightning struck it would either hit Ed or me. It’s really kind of funny to think that this vertically challenged person of 5 foot was the second tallest thing on top of a mountain!

In addition to being frightened and exhausted, I was confused. That morning I had asked God if it was safe for us to go on such an arduous hike. I sensed that it was.

I cried out to God as I tried to surmount yet another large rock, “Should we not have gone, Lord? Did I misunderstand You? I thought You said it was safe for us to go.”

Suddenly I realized—we were still safe! I remembered the peace He had given me about this trip. Focusing on that kept me going instead of being paralyzed by fear.

Well, we did get back in 1 piece—shaken, spent, but safe.


What did I learn from this crazy experience?

  • Running into obstacles doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made a mistake.

And even if you did, you can learn from it. Life is full of obstacles. We can either climb over them, go around them, or be stopped by them. With the Lord you can make the right choice.

  • Choosing your own way—even with right motives, often leads to unnecessary pain and greater difficulty.

You must seek God’s way.

  • Your actions affect others.

Though well-meaning, Ed made a wrong decision. We both suffered. (Mind you, I never held it against my wonderful man.)

  • God is faithful and protects His own

—despite our weaknesses or wrong choices (Ps 103:14).

  • You can learn to recognize God’s leading.

I was right when I sensed that it was ok to go. I had “heard” God correctly. My confidence in discerning God’s way increased which gave me great peace.

So my friends, I hope you also will learn from your experiences. I would do this crazy adventure of 20 years ago all over again!

The splendid view, memories, and lessons were well worth it!