The Agonizing Trek

“The Agonizing Trek”
–Amy Engle

National Poetry Writing Month 2017 Poem #7

Despite the April morning chill,
My skin is moist and burning.
The faint desert wind blows
Dry, pollen-filled air among us.
A pack rests across my shoulders,
Over-loaded with hiking essentials.
“I can do this,” I say to myself.
“This is practice for Grand Canyon.”
Flatiron rises in the distance.
The trail begins miles before the
Mountain even begins to slope.
Our fearless leaders charge forward
While the less-experienced hikers
Lag behind at our own slow pace.
My quads tighten as I approach
The steepening inclined path.
I soon find myself all alone.
An occasional stranger passes
Me by with a wave and smile.
Nothing but my thoughts and
Prayers to keep me motivated.
The inclining increases drastically.
Ahead, I see some members of
My group struggle to scale the cliff.
I stop in fear, my eyes wide as I
Survey the rock wall before me.
No one had told me that we’d be
Actually mountain climbing today.
I had assumed that the path simply
Circled and spiraled up to the summit.
Other hikers sound discouraged
But they continue toward the cliff.
Shaking my head, I begin the trek
Back down the trails to my car.
“Nope. Not gonna happen. Never.”
The people who invited me on the hike
Most be certifiably insane if they thought
That I could handle the monstrous slope.
Time goes on, and I lose track of time.
A sign identifies the different trails
That intersected at the same fork.
Nothing looked the least bit familiar.
It had been fairly dark when we had begun
And the pace was brisk in the beginning;
I hadn’t thought that there were multiple
Paths up the cursed Flatiron Mountain.
Panic sets in as I realize that I’m lost.
The GPS on my phone is no help at all.
Standing there doing nothing wasn’t helping,
So I tried my luck with the widest path.
Tents appeared in the near distance.
As inattentive as I had been, I was fairly
Certain that I hadn’t passed any kind of
Camps on the trail up to the mountain.
I continued on, reasoning that I could get
Help from a friendly camper along the way.
The never-ending streets of trailers
Go on and on for miles as I wander.
I consult my GPS yet again, but in vain.
Water runs low, the sun grows hot ony my
Reddening skin as the afternoon approaches.
The sound of tires on asphalt comes around
a corner and a shinning golf cart passes me.
I wave my arms, calling and shouting at them.
“Please! I’ve been lost for an hour and can’t
Find my way back,” I ramble on at them.
The blessed strangers take pity on me and
Give me a ride to the trail with directions.
I arrive at my car after one more short hike,
Dehydrated, starving, and devoid of energy.
With one last glance at Flat Iron Mountain,
I collapse into my seat and sigh in relief.