I didn’t know I was doing it until I had done it. It’s like going on a new hike, a bit of a mystery. You leave the trail head with a little trepidation. Can I do this? You’ve looked at the map. It makes sense. (Always a worry.) You wonder how steep the climbs will be, how knee-killing the descents. Will you time it right so that you face west while under the current cloud cover, but will you come around to the east-facing side of the mountain before sunset bursts from behind the cloud. At ninety degrees or so. Did you bring enough water? For you? And the dog? Is there enough battery on your phone just in case? Chapstick? Check. Shoelaces tied, tightly, check. You begin, It’s gorgeous, and difficult, and you keep going. The juniper. The mesquite. You’re winded. Hot. You keep going. The views are spectacular. The smells from the monsoon rain earlier in the day are calming. Another climb. Big rock steps. The dog bounds up them like an athlete. You more or less trudge. You do it. Take a break, and you know it must be hard because even the dog lays down after a nice few mouthfuls of water. You sit in the shade. For just a minute. And then, you’re back up and you go forth. Up down around. Up down around. Keys still in pocket. Check. Bring the hat out. Sun is bright. Roll down your sleeves. Around a curve. Wow. A whole new view. Then there’s a point where you wonder, did I make the wrong turn, am I on the same trail? You haven’t seen another soul. Or dog. Just lizards and a quail. A bunny and a tarantula. Surely you didn’t mis-step. Keep going. Then, you see the power lines. You know the landmark. You’ve gone full circle. Then you see another trail head. Another trail. Oh, that’s where that one goes, you realize. This one actually catches up with that one. Next time, you’ll take that trail. The mountain, Little Chimney, and its map, are etched onto your brain now. You know now. How it all works. Seems so easy. You arrive. So quickly. Suddenly you’re back at the trail head. What? Wow. How did that happen? Success.
Just like the first time I heard my daughters refer to themselves as feminists. Strong. Confident. Certain. What? Wow. How did that happen? Success.
Picture of Chimney Rock @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/julia_k