At the End of the Road
By Khaliela Wright
When I was a child, my grandfather often sang the Scottish traditional tune “Loch Lomond” to me, but I was well into adulthood before the truth sank in of its melancholy message about the high road and the low road. When life gets us down, we lose hope and our sense of adventure. But when we are sad, we need the high country most.
This has been a rough year. Budget cuts for the community college where I teach threw the campus into crisis mode, and closure loomed. My son moved half a continent away. I broke my glasses and since I’m legally bind, I was put on light duty for my other job with the U.S. Census Bureau, which left me with little to do but twiddle my thumbs until the new pair came in. If you don’t work, you can’t pay your bills. And to top it all off, I had just begun dating, but it wasn’t going well. What else was a girl to do but head for Elk River?
Elk River is at the end of Highway 8. To go any farther, travelers must leave the pavement behind. As I drove the rural highways, I felt my heart grow lighter. By the time I reached my destination at the Elk Creek Falls trailhead, I was almost in a fit state to keep company.