The Far Side of the Mountain

I still haven’t turned off my computer for an entire day, but I have been curtailing my online activities in an effort to live more of an offline life.

A couple of days ago, I went on a quest to find a trail to the top of a local mountain, but I never even got to the other side of the mountain to find the trail. Distances are deceiving in the desert, since there is no human-made structure for comparison, and it took me two hours just to get to the mountain and swing around it a bit. I had to save enough energy, strength, and water to get back, otherwise I would have made it around the mountain.

Bell Mountain. Elevation 3848 ft. The 30120th highest peak in the US.

Bell Mountain. Elevation 3848 ft. The 30120th highest peak in the US.

Today I did the next best thing — drove to the other side of the mountain and tried to hike up the far side. Did well for a while, but the steepness defeated me — even on flange of the mountain, there were places where it sloped greater than 45 degrees. (It’s the steepness that makes it a mountain, apparently. Otherwise it would be just another desert knoll.)

Getting closer!

Still, it was an interesting trip, and maybe I’ll try again someday.

The world below.

The world below.

I didn’t have any great insights, just the same one any intrepid mountain climber has about halfway up a steep slope: What goes up, must come down.

My car, far below, circled in red, near a water tank.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

10 Responses to “The Far Side of the Mountain”

  1. Carol Wuenschell Says:

    Nice story and pictures. That mountain looks a lot like a volcanic cinder cone. Do you know if it is?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It looked volcanic to me, too, which would have been interesting since I lived for twenty years at the base of a dead volcano, but this mountain is actually an erosion remnant.

  2. Carol Says:

    That’s quite the vista! I don’t think you have to reach the pinnacle to say you’ve come a long way… in fact or as an analogy. 🙂

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Carol, that’s a good point about pinnacles. Just moving beyond where you are can be a long way! We tend to focus on the pinnacles we reached or did not reach and discount the real achievements.

  3. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Wow–that’s some serious hiking! The beauty of emptiness! I can see why you enjoy it.

  4. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Now I have to go look up “erosion cone.” Wind? Doesn’t seem like there has been much water there for an eon or two.

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