“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — John Muir
Travels With Maggie
I was born in Dallas, where the highest landmark around was a skyscraper. My first view of a mountain didn’t happen until I was 14, when my aunt and uncle took me on vacation with them to Sequoia National Park in California.
The high peaks, some still snow-covered although it was mid-summer, called out to me: You belong here, this is home. But it took another 10 years before I would visit them again, and just about as long again until I finally lived in their shadows.
I tell everybody that the only thing I miss since I sold my home, and got rid of possessions so I could live my dream of traveling the country in a 22-foot long RV, is my bathtub. That’s almost true. I miss the daily presence of the mountains, and one in particular more than any other.
Mount Ogden, which stretches 9,570 feet toward the sky, was my backyard for over 20 years. I climbed the 10-mile round-trip to its top several times with Maggie’s predecessor, a blonde cocker spaniel named Peaches. She had 10 times more energy than Maggie ever did, but so did I in those days.
I learned to ski on Mount Ogden when I was 40. Her trails offered me peace after a stressful day as a newspaper city editor and land issue fodder for stories when I was the paper’s environmental reporter.
While she blocked me from enjoying sunrises, the golden glow cast on her by the sun sinking in the west frequently warmed my heart. She provided me with birds to watch, wildflowers to smell and, rippling streams that serenaded me on hikes.
Mount Ogden’s Snowbasin ski resort was also home for all the 2002 Winter Olympic downhill events. I walked the steep runs created for them with presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was then president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympics. Once, very slowly, I even skied the lower section of the women’s downhill run.
On first seeing Mount Ogden again, which I’ve done at least once yearly since going on the road seven years ago, she brings tears to my eyes, just as if she were my own mother whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. In a way that’s what she is.
Good mothers nurture their children. And Mount Ogden nurtures me.