This past Saturday I returned from a week in Deer Valley, Utah with my husband. Let’s just say that the trip held some unplanned adventures. One of the highlights of the trip was being at the Utah Symphony performance under the stars along with some wonderful friends. With an overflowing picnic basket and beautiful mountains surrounding us, it was a spectacular memory in the making. Unfortunately, the next day, we made a hiking memory that was slightly less than spectacular.
Knowing we had to check out of our hotel room at noon on Saturday, my husband and I set out for a morning hike on the Ontario Trail – a not-too-difficult, hour-long hike up the mountain and then down the ski lift back to our hotel. No worries…..except if you take the wrong path. When we got to the top of the mountain trail, we somehow missed a sign and started on a path that took us down a road less traveled.
As we finally realized our error, we were too far down the trail and knew we had to push forward toward a large lake at the base on the opposite side of the mountain from our hotel and civilization. Along the way, we saw disconcerting evidence that a mountain lion was in the vicinity. Needless to say, we picked up some big sticks, as our one-hour hike turned into an almost three-hour tract through the wilderness. Along the way, I had an unfavorable encounter with a hornet’s nest which left me with several throbbing stings on my hand and arm. Did I mention we also saw fresh bear tracks?
We breathed (or should I say huffed and puffed) a sigh of relief when we made it to the base of the mountain and onto a small gravel road. Sadly, we were at least 11 miles from our hotel. As we plodded down the road, thinking we still had miles until we reached a distinguishable Uber location, we heard a car approaching! Two young men who had camped in the area, became a much-welcomed relief to our tired and sore feet. They picked us up and drove us all the way back to our hotel, where we “more than slightly” over-extended our check-out time.
We never know when we will face challenges that stretch and strengthen us, but when we do, it is always good to consider what we learn from the experience. Here’s my take-away when plans change or life takes unintended twists and turns:
- Pray for guidance and protection.
- Stay calm and consider your options.
- Be alert to the dangers or challenges. In our case, it was mountain lions, bears and hornets, but in life you may face difficult people, financial challenges or other unforeseen obstacles.
- Equip yourself with necessary provisions. We needed big sticks, extra water and snacks. Consider what you will need for the possibilities ahead of you.
- Enjoy the view along the way.
- Accept help when needed.
Finally, always remember to thank God for His provisions. Curt and I recognize that God’s hand was with us all along the way. This was truly a wilderness opportunity to trust God for the outcome, plus we saw tremendous mountain top views that the typical tourist-hiker never has a chance to see. No matter what your wilderness experience is, allow these principles to help you through the unexpected paths in life.