How do You get over a Twelve Thousand Foot Ridge?

My friend Danny de armas and I had just hiked three miles in the mountains of Colorado. Now we stood staring up almost a mile at the 12,900 foot ridge we had to to cross to make it back to base camp.

We had been on our feet almost all day.  It seemed that with each foot we gained in elevation the packs grew heavier and my legs grew weaker.  I had been watching my feet to see if they were still moving.

A distant sound made me look up.  Black menacing storm clouds were flexing their muscles in the west. Could we beat the storm? It was an important question.  The last thing we wanted is to be caught on the top of a treeless ridge with lightning stomping around us looking for the easiest route to the ground.  Three quarters of the way up the ridge, carrying fifty pound packs that felt twice that heavy it became clear that this was going to be a close race. You don’t want a race with lightning to end in a tie!  

Although the sun was still baking us the clouds were growing darker, larger and closer and now we could see the snaky tongues of lightning searching the distant mountains for us.  I was breathing in huge rasping gasps.  I turned to Danny and said, “I don’t think I can make it.  How are we ever going to get to the top?”  Danny replied with determination and without hesitation.

“One step at a time, Ken.   One step at a time.” 

So the race with the storm was reduced to a simple formula.  Put one foot in front of the other, then give the other foot a turn.  I stared only at my dusty boots. I didn’t want them to become smoking boots.  And I certainly didn’t want to become some crispy critter smoldering on the mountain top.  I moved upward one step at a time.  A cool blast of wind announced my arrival at the top of the ridge.  We did not stop to celebrate, but we whooped it up all the way down the other side of the moutain.  We had beaten the storm. We were alive!  We did it one step at a time.

What mountain has to be climbed for you to experience life fully alive?

What is the first step you have to take?

You may not be sure.  Take a step anyway.  Don’t try to figure it all out before you move.  Start walking, with the first step you will be closer to your destination.


  1. the last literal mountian I climbed was Lookout mountain in Colorado. This task was nothing compared to stripping away the backpack of guilt, pride,and the belief that I was a rock or an Island and didn’t need assistance from any one. the biggest mountain I have ever had to climb was the mountain of self determination, the belief that I as an American man could do anything all by my self and didn’t need anyone, even Jesus. I believe in Jesus but never wanted to bother him and therefore never called on him. After some life altering circumstances I realised that if I gave my life to Christ that he would carry my pack. Now without the weight of that pack on my back the mountains that I was climbing back when I was young and dumb are now simple curb cutsand he even helps push me up those short ramps and then politely walks beside me carrying all my sins.

    1. Author

      Roger, A great comment from one of my favorite people in the world. You are an inspiration. I really enjoyed talking with you on the phone. Thank you for your interview.


  2. Dear Ken,

    My own personal mountain took about 8 years to climb. One step, one day at a time. Then when I recently arrived at the pinnacle, It seemed like I was only there about 5 seconds, enjoying the view, when the circumstances, changed so drastically that I was leaving the pinnacle, running down the other side, feet and legs spinning down faster than my brain! It seems like it’s all I can do to watch out for “ACORNS AND WILD DEVIL DOGS”! I’m not enjoying the scenery going down, wondering when will I fall and have to climb that awful mountain again!

    You and your ministry have been the balm of Gilead to my soul. Please keep on keeping on!

  3. Love this post, love the way you can take a scary situation and find the humor in it, and give a good message as well. One step at a time.

  4. My hubby and I experienced a similar feeling going
    over a 14er in SW CO on a pass meant for big quads
    and jeeps, in a little Element! We prayed our way while we filled in washouts by hand, with boulders scraped from the cliffs…a 2 hour drive took us
    8 hours of difficult labor and constant beseeching the Lord to forgive our stupidity of trying to cross. Near the end, 2 other Christian couples
    helped us, and we couldn’t stop praising Him when we got to ground level.

  5. You always brighten my day Ken!

    Sure glad your not a crispy critter:) I have been just as you was, it hurt so bad!

    You have a wonderful day and thank you for being here. I wish I could afford all your dvds I have listened to all that is on utube. so much fun!!


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