The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I am not the ‘outdoorsy’ type, although I wish I were. Not to say I’m a super girly-girl, but I would much rather stay in a nice hotel room with a comfy bed, surrounded by the white fluff of a down comforter, in air conditioning, with running water, electricity, and plumbing than say… go on a hike.

But this past weekend, that all changed.

It all started with an impromptu trip to Arizona with my roommates. Neither of my roomies had been to my hometown of Scottsdale before, so I decided the best way to show them what the desert had to offer was to take a hike.

We woke up at 9am, had a nice hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and Krispe Kreme donuts, and then set out on our adventure to hike a few trails on the newly developed McDowell Mountain. Mind you, I decided not to take them to Camelback Mountain, a mountain for ‘more advanced’ hikers. After a six and a half hour drive, a nice leisurely stroll through the arid mountains was all we really felt we needed, and all I felt I was capable of.

We began our journey at 11am. The air was hot. The sun beat down on my back without mercy. I felt a cool drop of sweat run down my face almost instantly after exiting my car and heading to the trails. Luckily I came prepared with a bottle of water to cool myself down and my Jackie-O sized sunglasses to shield me from the cruel rays of the sun.

We picked a moderate route. Only an hour and a half hike start to finish. The first ten minutes went by quickly, simple easy hike. Then, as we reached higher altitudes our steps got slower, more deliberate, and our breath quickened.

“Hey what do you guys say if we ditch the trail and just make our own pathway up to the top of this mountain,” I said, “It really doesn’t look that far up.”

“Lets do it,” they responded.

I led the way. Walking sticks in hand, we plowed through the palo verdes, skipping in between jumping chollas, which I warned them not to brush up against, dodging snake holes, and keeping watch for any mountain lions or other stray wildlife. We huffed and puffed our way up the mountain, stripping down to the bare minimums of our clothes as the sun got harsher, the weather hotter, and our bodies sweatier.

About half way up the mountain I turned to look back.

“Holy…” I yelled, “Hope you guys aren’t afraid of heights.”

The trail we had been following earlier was no longer visible. The mountain we were climbing began to get more and more steep. At this point we were almost vertical and had to ditch our walking sticks to climb up the rocky ridges using our hands and feet as supports.

At last we reached the top. The view was beyond words.

“Wow we did it,” Brittany whispered.

We took in the scenery for quite some time. All of us silent looking out, our bodies sore and aching, admiring what we had accomplished. Something I never thought I could, let alone would desire to do.

“So…” Jesse said, breaking the silence. “Now how do we get down?”

We’re idiots, I thought. I’ve always heard the hard part was climbing down. We had been so strategic on our way up: finding the clearest route, the easiest and most secure rocks to find our footing, and now we were…stuck.

We looked around for quite some time trying to figure out the best way to decline.

“I’ll go first,” I said. In my mind thinking I’d rather be the one to slip and fall than my best friends who I had dragged into this situation.

I slowly backed down the rocks, checking the security of each boulder before I put my full weight on it. Eventually I lowered myself down to a point where I could ‘spider crawl,’ my hands digging into the earth as I tried to safely descend down the side of the mountain.

Occasionally, I’d hear a few shrieks and yells behind me, as they lost their footing on the slippery terrain.

“You okay?” I’d yell, my voice echoing in the mountaintops.

There would be along pause, then I’d hear the faint sound of laughter, followed by a pained “Yeah!” shouted back to me, and I knew everything would be all right.

We eventually made our way back to the trails. Our one and a half our hike turned into a four-hour excursion of triumph. We were so proud of our feat. Whoever thought a bunch of dance majors could scale a mountain?

It is an incredible feeling accomplishing something you never thought you would be able to do. I’ve yet to experience anything quite like sitting on top of a mountain with your best friends just taking in the view, the vast space of the landscape, the height of the mountains, the abundance of wildlife and plants: everything living, breathing. I found out something new about myself that day. Sometimes you find happiness in the most spontaneous of moments, sometimes you accomplish things you never thought were possible, and it is then that you learn to appreciate every creature you encountered on your way up and every plant that scratched you on your way down.

-Courtney M. Myers


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