Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Hike

Adams Canyon is a popular hike in my hometown. The trailhead is only a few miles up the highway from my parents' house, so I've hiked it multiple times. Pretty much everyone in my hometown has hiked that canyon more than once.

Everyone, that is, except the moms.

See, Adams Canyon is also one of the most treacherous hikes I've ever been on. I'm pretty sure the only reason teenagers get to hike that canyon is because their moms have no idea just how dangerous it is. You cross a rocky creek bed several times, once on a rickety, old bridge that was rickety and old ten years ago, and you also scamper across a forty-five-degree cliff face that will dump you fifteen feet into that rocky creek bed if you lose your grip. Like I said, treacherous.

So why is it so popular? I'm sure some people hike that canyon for the thrill, but most of us hike it for the waterfall. After curving around a final cliff, the trail up Adams Canyon dead-ends in an unbroken forty-foot waterfall that you'd never expect to find five minutes from the burbs. It really is breathtaking and one of the best thoughtful spots I've ever found.

But here's the thing: About a quarter of a mile down the trail from that unbroken forty-foot waterfall is another much wimpier one. I suppose it still qualifies as a waterfall, but the drop is only around ten feet, and it slips and spills over a bunch of rocks and broken logs. As you admire this wimpier waterfall, you can look up the trail and actually see the final cliff around which the real waterfall waits.

But the first time I hiked Adams Canyon, I made the mistake of stopping at Waterfall Wimpy.

In my defense, I'd never hiked it before, so I didn't know what I should have been shooting for, and neither, apparently, did the other people I was with. We'd heard there was an awesome waterfall at the end of the trail and mistakenly assumed that Waterfall Wimpy was it. The trail widens out at the end (to be honest, it's not very well-defined to begin with), and we assumed that that final cliff was the end. That there was nothing more to see.

How wrong we were.

I'm not going to spell out the metaphor, mostly because I think this post will mean different things to different people, but as I drove past Adams Canyon the other day, I knew I had to blog about it. I'd be interested to hear what the metaphor means to you, though. And of course, if you're ever in Davis County, Utah, and want to hike a fairly treacherous but fairly awesome canyon, I'll happily give you directions:)


Liesl Shurtliff said...

I love this. You made me want to go hiking. Oh wait, I live on a pancake.

SC Author said...

I love this. I love this a lot. I feel like I should print this out and post it on my wall. I know I will be remembering this all the time, kind of like the 'one thing' you remember to pick yourself up every time you get down. This will be joining my things :) I LOVE your anecdotes! Keep them coming! I feel this story will be helping me a lot soon :) It's so hard to keep hope, you know? When there is no reason to keep hoping. Hoping for the sake of it, for the ideal wish in the distance. This is great :) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

To me it represents a lesson on perseverance. The road is treacherous but when all is said and done, you have peace and joy! Just when it seems like you're at the end, keep pressing on, b/c there's a greater blessing if you keep moving forward:~)BTW, sounds like a great setting for a scene in a novel!

Anonymous said...

To me it represents a lesson on perseverance. The road is treacherous but when all is said and done, you have peace and joy! Just when it seems like you're at the end, keep pressing on, b/c there's a greater blessing if you keep moving forward:~)BTW, sounds like a great setting for a scene in a novel!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Great post Krista! Maybe I'm jumping to this comparison just because it's been on my mind quite a bit lately, but I think I sent out my "Wimpy Waterfall" to a few agents who'd made requests. I wish I would have waited just a bit longer (and met some fabulous betas just a bit earlier). Live and learn, right?

Andrea said...

Boy, this post inspires many thoughts, including thoughts of not giving up too soon. But it also makes me think of what happens when we grow up. The "Wimpy Waterfall" was mistaken for the "Spectacular Waterfall" until the real spectacular waterfall was discovered. Then suddenly the wimpy waterfall wasn't so spectacular. One of the reasons I write for children is that part of my brain is still stuck in childhood and I treasure the magic and wonder that goes along with being a kid. When we grow up we lose some of that magic, and when we look back on some of the things that seemed so awesome when we were kids we realize perhaps they were mediocre at best, we just didn't realize it. A prime example is how my husband insists the Christmas trees his family had growing up were HUGE, and we must do the same for our kids. This has led to buying Christmas trees that break the pocketbook, broken branches as we struggle to squeeze the tree through the front door and the purchase of industrial-sized tree stands that cost more than the tree itself. Yet when I look at the childhood photos of my husband's family standing by their Christmas tree years ago , I can see that the tree wasn't anything special. But to a little boy lying on the floor staring up at it on Christmas Eve, it was the most spectacular Christmas tree in the world!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jamie on the perseverance. It reminds me of my family - my parents wanted children but not teenagers. We had wonderful childhoods but as soon as we started rebelling our folks kicked my brother and I out(and we weren't terrible). The trust was shattered and it can never be the same. I think my parents saw the wimpy waterfall that was us as kids, and missed out on the greater waterfall that is the us that we've become as adults with children and families of our own.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Well, Liesl, I guess you'll just have to come back this way for a visit:)

SC, thank YOU for your lovely comment. It's nice to think that things we write mean something to someone.

Jamie, I did once use Adams Canyon for several scenes in a novel, but alas, the idea was fatally flawed, so I never finished it...

Kimberly, good CPs can make SUCH a difference. I wrote my first two manuscripts without them, and my third was SO MUCH better.

Andrea, it's funny how exaggerated our childhood memories are. When I went to Disneyland for the first time as an adult, I was shocked by how small everything was. Disneyland had always seemed so big in my mind, but then, I'd only ever seen it through the eyes of a child.

Oh, Anon, how heartbreaking. I really don't know what to say. Best of luck to you and your brother and your families now.