When Personal Retreat Plans Go Wrong

One of the most fascinating aspects of Personal Retreats is the way the originally planned location does not work out only to reveal a better location. I wrote about this to some degree in a post several years ago entitled, “Sanctifying the Place,” but let me give another example from today.

The Santa Rita Mountains and Madera Canyon are about 20 miles from our home in Southern Arizona. My daughter wanted to a partial day Personal Retreat at Madera Canyon today and came to our house early in order to, theoretically, beat the crowds, given it’s 106 degrees here and about 20 degrees cooler up there. But at 9 AM we found every last parking place in the canyon occupied. Disappointment, right? Well, usually at times like this there’s something better.

We decided to instead go to 8553′ Mt. Hopkins, also in the Santa Rita’s, famous for the Smithsonian Institute Observatory at the top. One can’t actually go to the top where the observatory is, but can get somewhat near the top into much cooler temperatures than the valley below, albeit via a long, narrow gravel road. We found a nice shady place with a short trail through the woods at the 7081′ level, just before the gate to the observatories. It also had a great view of Mt. Wrightson (9495′), the highest point in the Santa Ritas. It was a delightful place that we’ll return to.

Our plan was to be at 5450′ Madera Canyon in the midst of scores of noisy people that would have probably spoiled the retreat time. God’s plan was to take us 1500′ higher (and therefore to a cool 79 degrees) where there was mostly silence. Trust God to lead you to his chosen place for your Personal Retreats.   –Monte Kline

Mt Wrightson from Hopkins

Mt. Wrightson from Retreat Location