Scaling hills, literally and figuratively (Or, today’s tortured analogy)


Granite Park Chalet

Recently I scored an opportunity that will allow me to cross off a bucket list item—a hike to the backcountry Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park. Getting to the chalet involves either a 4- or 7-mile hike, depending which way you go. Its presence means you can enjoy your hike with a simple day pack, rather than lugging overnight gear. People like the hike for that reason, but mostly because of the spectacular country along the trail. Because of its popularity, stays at the chalet are reservation only, and I’ve never managed to get my act together in time to make one. But recently a friend called with the news that someone in her hiking group had to cancel, and did I want to take her spot? Oh. Hell. Yeah.

The trip is in a month, and I’ll be in Vietnam for two weeks of that time. Which leaves me just two more weeks to get in better shape than jogging around my mostly flat neighborhood has. My training plan involves heading up a hill a day. My neighborhood is surrounded by hills, which makes the training easy, and—given the lovely views from the top—enjoyable.

Up the hill

Up the hill

View from the top

View from the top










Those are the literal hills. If only the figurative ones were so easy. (Here comes that tortured analogy.)

I’m in the midst of revisions to the Work In Progress. When I was working on the first draft, I moaned and groaned about how much I hated writing first drafts, and how I couldn’t wait to get to the revisions.

Now that I’m on the revisions, guess what? Yup, you got it: I miss the first draft. The first draft can be sloppy, rushed, full of holes. The hard part is not knowing the details. But at least I don’t sweat the writing. That comes with the revisions. No more sloppiness. Details matter. The holes must be filled.

I liken the difference between the first draft and the revisions to jogging around the neighborhood’s level streets and climbing all of those hills. Here’s what I tell myself as I struggle to write yet another new scene, or polish some embarrassingly clunky sentences. That, when I’m done, I’ll have the same feeling of exhilaration as when I top a hill, when I forget about the effort it took to get there, and smile in delight at at the view.

I’m not there yet. I’ll get to Granite Park Chalet before I finish these revisions. But when I’m soaking my feet in the icy creek after the hike, I’ll remind myself that I’ll feel an equal sense of relief when the revisions are done.

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