Or Meet Me at the Top
By Nichole Giles
Last week my family and I hiked a dead volcano. We were on vacation far from home, so it was a hike we’ve never done before. Since we live in the Rocky Mountains and hike often during spring and summer months, we started off completely optimistic that this three quarter mile walk would be cake for us. I mean, come on, it’s a mile and a half up to the Timpanogos Caves, and we do that every year without too much difficulty.
We stared off on ground that was comfortably sloped, laughing and talking as we went. A little ways up, the road got steeper, and then steeper. Still, we could see what we thought was the top, and it didn’t look far at all. No worries.
A while later, the trail got steeper still. Finally, my heart rate sped up a little more than normal. My nice morning hike was becoming a bit of a workout. About this time, the trail veered off to a lookout that gave us a wonderful view of the valley and ocean below. The clear, blue water sparkled in the morning sunlight as it washed upon a shore of white sand, and the lush green plants spread out like a fluffy carpet across the valley below. Some people who’d been hiking in front of us decided they’d gone far enough. They snapped a bunch of pictures, and then turned around, satisfied that they’d hiked as close as they could to the top.
We stopped to take some pictures too, and then continued our upward journey. The trail wound around for another few hundred feet and then I turned a corner and found…
Until I saw the next staircase. Twice as many stairs, and somehow, they seemed even steeper than the previous flight. So, once again, we all made our way up. (On a side note here, the kids were way ahead of the adults by now.) At the top of these stairs, another short tunnel led us into a small room with…
As I continued on what was starting to feel like an endless climb, I couldn’t help but think of how this particular hike resembled not only the journey of a writer to publication, but also of every person experiencing life. We walk and we walk and we hike and we work, and every time we think we’ve made it to the top, we discover another staircase. Some people might stop at the first lookout, the halfway point, content to go no further. And for them that’s fine, it’s a great place to be. But others may have loftier goals, and will never be content stopping at halfway. For us, the journey feels endless and harrowing and we end up wondering why we’re trying so hard.
Meet me at the top and I’ll buy you a mango flavored shaved ice. Or pineapple. Coconut…well, you choose.