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Just Keep Going

In Writing on August 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I just returned from a wonderful family vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. If you have never been to this national park, it is well worth the visit whether you explore the park from the comfort of your car or on foot. Each time we hiked, we found natural treasures along the way from cooling waterfalls to wildflowers, towering trees to wildlife.

Unfortunately, however, I am not an avid hiker. I hike only occasionally, generally while on vacation, so while I was more than willing to begin, my stamina is probably not what it should have been for some of the hikes we chose. Needless to say, after a while, my pace slowed down and hiking became more of an endurance sport than a fun activity. I could feel myself gritting my teeth, willing myself forward because I refused to stop before I got to the end of the trail. But at times, I must admit, the thrill was gone.

One day we decided to hike to Ramsay Cascades, the highest waterfall in the park. It’s an eight-mile round-trip hike and the trail climbs about 2,400 feet. The end of the trail is a rock scramble. By the time I reached that part of the trail, I really just wanted to  stop. The thought of scrambling over rocks to reach our destination was a bit more than my urban mind and body could tolerate. As I was scouting out a resting place, a couple passed by on their way back from the falls. They assured me that while the rest of the trail was more challenging, it was doable and well worth the trip. Sure enough, in a few moments, I reached Ramsey Cascade. The view was breath-taking. More than that, I felt a real sense of accomplishment even though I had found muscles that I never knew existed.

So, what does hiking have to do with writing? There are probably many lessons I could draw from my hiking experience, but here’s what really sticks in my mind — just keep going. When writing gets tough, keep at it. Don’t let distractions side track you. The hike to the end is well worth the pain, whether you are writing a book, a poem or a business report.

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  1. Joan, This is so true! Apt words that gave me the push I need to finish a few tough assignments. Thanks and welcome back from vacation.

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