When You Can’t Go Forward and You Can’t Go Back

After my success hiking in the small part of the desert across the street, yesterday I decided to go further afield. Beyond these two hills is what I used to call “my desert,” the area I used to ramble when I stayed with my father.


The view was different from I remembered, but then, I was further south than the trails I used to walk, and was looking at the hills from a different direction.


I didn’t want to overtire myself the second day out, so I rounded the hills and headed back. In the distance, I saw an interesting rock formation jutting above a hill, and since I wasn’t at all tired, I took a short detour to check it out. Such a lovely mini canyon!


By then, I’d climbed a rocky trail that had been easy to walk up, but seemed too dangerous to walk down, so I kept going. The trail ahead of me seemed steep but easy enough.


Oh, my! Most of it was okay, but parts of it were so steep I simply could not hike any further. Perhaps if my damaged arm and wrist were stronger, I could have hauled myself up using the trekking poles. Perhaps. As it was, I could only stand there, legs shaking, body trembling with adrenaline.


So, what does one do when one can’t hike up and can’t hike down? You toss the poles ahead of you to free your arms and crawl on your hands and knees. At least, that’s what I did. I had to laugh at myself — I’ve been dreaming again of a long distance hike, something epic and life changing, and there I was, in what certainly could have been a life-changing situation, especially when I encountered not one, not two, but three such spots, each more dangerous than the last. But finally . . .  finally . . . I got to the top of the hill.


When I was safe, I glanced back and couldn’t believe those innocent-looking hills held such beauty and treachery.


You know what the worst part of the hike was? Yep, you guessed it — not the hard part of the trail, but what should have been the easiest — the long paved city mile back to the house. After two hours hiking I was exhausted!!

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

2 Responses to “When You Can’t Go Forward and You Can’t Go Back”

  1. Bill Chance Says:

    What an adventure. I’m a big fan of hiking in the desert – love your photos.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jan Says:

    You have photographed the trails that we have hiked for 30 years. Yes,it is important to choose your route carefully but aren’t the views spectacular! It helps to have a big dog to pull you up some of those steep grades.;-)

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