Back to

A poem about our Chief’s Head hike

Why Do We Climb?


why do we climb?

with light packs

and sun-kissed hair

we feel like we could walk on air

as we start our day-long hike.


why do we climb?

with a group we smile and talk

as faster we begin to walk

the mountain is now in view.


why do we climb?

through the woods

we started slow.

now on the ridge the world’s aglow

from sunbeams against the cliffs.


why do we climb?

i cannot help myself

i run

up the mountain climbing towards the sun

steep and rocky it becomes.


why do we climb?

in solitude

i get to walk now

slow and steady — the only way i know how —

the group is far behind.


why do we climb?

i listen to the sounds around me

the wind hugs my ear

all other sounds disappear

there’s only the crunch of earth beneath my feet now.


why do we climb?

the final stretch to the top is hard

with the last steps — relief.

then a triumph comes that is brief.

I still don’t understand.


why do we climb?

if the top is not the end

if we have to go down

and this view will no longer be around

is it important just to have seen it?


so, why do we climb?

perhaps the mere experience of being at the summit

and seeing the world — if only for a moment —

from above, and connecting to those before us

is enough to change our view from our mountain-less forests.

we change what we give and take

when we know our existence is merely a flake

in a world full of snow.

coming down from above we know there is more than our world down below.