Hiking Toward Heaven

HTHAn adventurous series of hikes in the mountains and canyons of the Southwest United States …

An encounter with a mysterious stranger who makes an intriguing proposition …

An exploration into the powerful Christian themes of love, grace, and forgiveness …

A new formula for dealing with obstacles that life puts in our way …

Glimpses of heaven we can identify with …

Packed with wisdom and spiced with intrigue, this book views all these aspects through the wide-open eyes of children and the experienced eyes of a scientist. It is an enchanting story that rocks along from one hiking episode to the next, all on the edge of God’s interaction with humankind. The mystery is engaging, and the emotions are stirring enough to bring a tear to the eye.

Hiking Toward Heaven is about hiking. In fact six exciting hikes are described, with background history and geography, as well as local lore. The writing is simple, yet conjures up powerful visualizations of the scenes described. During each hike, incidents occur which are dramatic and suspenseful. The visualizations are so powerful in places that it becomes hard to distinguish truth from fiction……and that adds to the intrigue.

The book is an easy read, in that the prose is simple and the plot straightforward. Paragraphs do not have to be re-read for understanding. It will be read by children and adults, but the spiritual themes are perhaps more adult-oriented. Nonetheless, the book will be appreciated by parents and grandparents who will eagerly relate to the opinions and perceptions of younger children in contrast to those of adults and intellectuals.

Hiking Toward Heaven is also a spiritual book, which probes the mystery of faith, and the great Christian themes of grace, love, and forgiveness. The probing is done in an honest and transparent way, and is never preachy. The faith of children versus adults (and a scientist) is contrasted in a compelling re-examination of the benefits of openness and simplicity. The spiritual truths are integrated into the hiking trails in a natural and satisfying manner. Just as it embraces the challenges of hiking, the book does not deny the difficulties of life, but does offer hope and guidance for solutions to some of life’s problems. The result is an uplifting reminder of that key Christian attitude—hope—with practical encouragement for the upsets of life, particularly in tough economic times.

The hope extends all the way to heaven…..and includes a discussion of what heaven may be like. Again, the perception of children versus adults is revealing. A lot of people wonder what heaven will be like, and some exciting possibilities are explored here.

Hiking Toward Heaven is about an extended family, and their interaction with a mysterious stranger. The affectionate communication amongst family members, and with the stranger, is uplifting and affirming, and imbues the reader with a sense of warmth and satisfaction.

The book is rich in allegory. Mysterious events and situations which occur during the six hikes can be explored for deeper spiritual meanings, and this is rewarding. In this sense, the book could be a valuable discussion-guide in a Christian home-study group. In fact, one reader intends to integrate this book into a curriculum for youth in detention. He believes at-risk youth will welcome this novel presentation of Biblical truths.

In summary, while set along the interface between earth and heaven, the book contains both inspirational and practical aspects of living.  On an emotional level, the fun and laughter and serious discussion between a scientist and his grandchildren in Hiking Toward Heaven will captivate and warm the heart of a reader.


  • Chapter 1: In the Arroyo
  • Chapter 2: Santa Fe
  • Chapter 3: In the Jemez Mountains
  • Chapter 4: In the Superstition Mountains
  • Chapter 5: Down the La Luz Trail
  • Chapter 6: The TWA Crash Site in the Sandias
  • Chapter 7: Canyon del Oro
  • Chapter 8: Up on the Mawson Plateau

Purchase Hiking Toward Heaven on Amazon.

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Sharon Miller
Sharon Miller
6 years ago

Ian, I just finished reading “Hiking Toward Heaven” and thoroughly enjoyed it! Well written, entertaining as well as spiritually uplifting and thought provoking! It is no wonder that MA loves hiking so much!
You truly have a gift as a writer as well as a teacher. I really enjoyed attending your recent classes in Tulsa on Creation – Evolution and hopefully will get to benefit from your insight in the future through your blogs, books, and hopefully more classes.

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