Mountains of Memories


Shoes to WhitneyThere’s Mt. Whitney dirt buried beneath the layer of dust on these boots. Nearly twenty years after the journey they remain under the nightstand, waiting for the next trek. I had planned to hike the trail again but the reality of that is improbable. Now I see the boots and bandana as trophies of past adventures – checks Mt Whitney ledgeoff the bucket list of goals.

I reflect on that elation I once felt at the top of this world. The photo proof of accomplishment feeds my mind with encouragement, staving off the inner critic as I work on my current goal to finish the memoir, one switchback at a time.

The process of writing the memoir is like climbing that mountain. We begin at the bottom, working on the arc of the story – the path to the top and then down again. I set the milestones.

  • Permits – getting permission
  • Training – learning the best way
  • Advice – finding a coach who has been there
  • Mirror Lake – reflecting on the memories
  • Trailside Meadows – feeling the effects but pushing on
  • Trail Camp – regenerating
  • 97 Switchbacks – penning the points in the arc
  • Trail Crest – seeing the other side
  • Summit – the first draft
  • 97 Switchbacks – editing, cutting back
  • Return to the Portal – exhausted but exhilarated
  • Buying the “I Climbed Mt Whitney T-Shirt” – the reward

I am at Trailside Meadows. Where are you in your journey?



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7 responses to “Mountains of Memories”

  1. Gretchen Staebler says :

    I’m tired! And impressed. Very. Impressed. I’m mirroring in the lake from the vantage point of the 32nd switchback, grinding slowly up the ups and down the downs. I don’t do tall peaks, all up then all down; I’m more of a ridge hiker.


  2. Pat Macsata says :

    I saw my leather horseback riding boots recently…..I think they are still under my bed.


  3. Barbara In Caneyhead says :

    Hats off to you, Marjorie! Mt. Whitney, that’s awesome!
    Barbara, blogging at Life & Faith in Caneyhead


  4. Aunt Beulah says :

    Climbing a mountain is the perfect metaphor for writing and publishing a memoir. It rings true. On my journey, I am looking at my T shirt, which reads, “I climbed a Colorado 14er,” and I’m thinking that it’s doubtful I’ll ever climb another, though with great effort, plenty of time, and a day without lightening, maybe I could. Again, your metaphor works perfectly for how I feel about writing another book.


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