Guest Chick—Elizabeth Pantley

Becky here … I’m so excited to introduce you to Elizabeth Pantley today as she talks about the inspiration and research she magically fell into for her new book Falling Into Magic.

When Mountain Climbing becomes Book Inspiration

Hayden, my protagonist, is a hiker, and fairly new to the sport, just like me. I used my own experiences trekking through the great Pacific Northwest over the past year as the source of my material for the places in Destiny Falls where she enjoys her hikes through nature.

My own adventures allowed me the first-hand experience to be able to capture and describe the amazing beauty you can only find on wilderness trails or at the top of a mountain. I’d like to share the story of my very first mountain trail climbing experience with you.

What should you do when your adult children invite you to climb a mountain with them? Well, you pack up your backpack and grab some trekking poles and go with them, of course. Now, a few years ago, I would have prepared their snacks and smiled while I waved goodbye to them from the front door. But no longer. I’ve re-made myself into a fit person who does this kind of thing, so for the first time in my life, yep, I climbed a mountain.

The drive to the trailhead was an adventure of its own. We followed old roads that haven’t been maintained for years, going around potholes as big as kiddie pools. I was worried about the car, but the kids said we had to drive it or walk it. Walking it didn’t seem like a pleasant start to the day, so we bumped along, dodging left and right until we reached the parking area and the oldest outhouse I’d ever seen. The kids announced that a bush would be a better choice and handed me a roll of toilet paper and a baggie. Welcome to the wilderness, Mom.

The trail started out easy enough. Dirt and gravel that was groomed into a trail made the trek easy. But after a couple hours of that, the real fun began. The climb became steeper, the trail less groomed. At times we had to carefully make our way over rickety old bridges or massive tree roots. Eventually I realized that even those were considered “great trails.”

We soon came across what looked like an acre of large boulders. I asked where the trail was, and the kids pointed out a few tall orange stakes – planted so that hikers in the winter can see the trail, which would be obscured by snow. “But where is the actual trail?” I asked. I was told to look closely, and watch for the flatter areas, and to “mind your feet” as you carefully plant one foot at a time.

I was tempted to give up a few times, but the happiness on my kids’ faces as I ambled along with them was worth the journey. I also felt my own pride growing with the miles along our trek.

After half a day of hiking we were near the top. We found a flat area and the kids pulled out a hiker’s picnic of meat, cheese, bread, nuts and chocolate. It was one of the best lunches I’d had all year! We enjoyed our feast and took in the breathtaking view all around us before our final assent.

When I finally reached the peak, I clambered up some enormous boulders to reach a ladder that went up to the fire lookout tower at the very top. It was a celebration, and the reward was some of the most amazing views I’d ever seen. I’m talking about the looks of pride and joy on my kids’ faces. But the mountain view was awesome, too.

Yes, I had to stop many times along the way. But it’s not what you think! It was mainly to take notes for my novel!  (Thanks to my kids for being patient!) Here’s a short excerpt about one of Hayden’s treks through the Destiny Falls wilderness, inspired by my own mountain climbing adventure.

EXCERPT from Falling in Magic, Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic, 1

At just over three hours in, we rounded a bend in the trail, and I stopped dead in my tracks. There it was. Twin Falls Lake, and oh, was it magnificent! The vegetation opened up like a theater curtain and presented us with likely the most beautiful view I’d ever seen.

“This might be what heaven looks like,” I whispered. Olivia nodded, and we stood quietly as we drank in the exquisiteness of this divine space.

The waterfall spilled from between enormous granite boulders, trees, and vegetation high up above us. The water was so crystal clear it flowed down in a bright, white cascade splashing into a lake covered with ripples of movement.

There was a double rainbow – a genuine double rainbow – at the base of the splashing water. Below the surface of the water I could see multi-colored fish swimming, their kaleidoscope of colors blending artistically with the foliage surrounding the lake. Wildflowers provided accents of color everywhere I looked.

The soothing white noise of the waterfall was accompanied by an orchestra of birdsong.  The sky was brilliant blue with tufts of white clouds moving slowly across, as if blown by a gentle breeze. 

I took a deep breath and felt all my earthly worries melting away, a serene calm and lifted spirits taking their place.

Falling into Magic is a full-length magical cozy mystery novel with a touch of humor and a hint of romance. It is the first book in the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series. You can find it at Amazon.

Readers, are you hikers? Have you found inspiration in nature? Where? 

Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives near Seattle and is the mother of four and nana to one. She’s excited to present her first work of fiction.

You can follow Elizabeth here:


32 thoughts on “Guest Chick—Elizabeth Pantley

  1. You are much more ambitious than me, Elizabeth! If I ever write about mountain climbing, you can bet all my details will come from Google. What an awesome accomplishment though. And congrats on your new series!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Living in Colorado, I love the mountains, but don’t get up to them nearly enough. They’re not the mountains of my youth, however. Those were quiet and calm; today they’re packed full of people.

    I love the rugged Oregon coast in misty weather. Very affirming.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Colorado has some amazing mountains! There are some popular places in Washington too. We’ve learned to go early in the morning when only the wildlife is out with us!


  3. What a fabulous experience! I found myself hiking with you. I do love to hike, although I can’t do what I used to. We live adjacent to the Santa Monica Conservancy and I can walk up the street to a hike that takes me to Mulholland Drive for a fab view of the San Fernando Valley.

    Congratulations on your new book, Elizabeth, and thanks so much for guesting with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So nice to meet you and your books, Elizabeth! I’ll admit…I’m not much of a hiker. I tend to do my hiking along the seashore. The Pacific NW is so beautiful–my husband is from WA and my sister has lived there forever. I have to take a lot of ribbing about the relatively-dimunitive size of our New England mountains. (I went to school in the Berkshires and now live in NH.) I tell Western folk that our mountains are older. Probably better for me if I take up hiking, ha. Thanks for stopping along the trail to visit us Chicks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not much of a hiker. Part of it is, I’m not big on spending hours of my day on exercise. I think part of it is my family, that stops every two seconds to admire the view. Let’s just get somewhere different to admire the view. (And I’m only slightly exaggerating.) Definitely wouldn’t have done well with your hike since I have a very poor sense of balance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Funny how my grown kids have pushed me out of my comfort zone. I never would have figured I’d like the experience. It surprised me! (Your family sounds like a blast…)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to hike a lot with my parents when I was in my twenties. They’d rent a condo in Mammoth Lakes in the eastern Sierra Nevada every summer for the whole family, and we’d take day hikes up to 10,000 feet, puffing and panting, and then gasp in awe when at the wondrous view of all the tiny lakes below. Good times, indeed.

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Elizabeth and congrats on the book–so exciting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Leslie! Wow – it sounds like you’ve shared some amazing trips with your parents. Nevada is on our wish list – once we can travel again!


  7. Congrats on your new book, Elizabeth, and thanks for being on the Chicks! (Also, I’ve read your parenting books.)

    I do like hiking. We enjoy camping as a family and will also take short treks nearby. In the L.A. area, I really like seeing Switzer Falls near Pasadena. We’ve been to Crater Lake & Multnomah Falls in Oregon. If there’s a national park around, we like to visit it. Most recently, we dropped by Yellowstone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jennifer – Small world! Glad we meet again. 🙂 My daughter lives in LA and they hike weekly. Lots of beautiful spots there.


    2. We put them in cool jars. But you can make pretty candles by putting a smaller glass container within the larger one to hold a tea light, and placing the sea glass between the glass layers.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, kudos for making it to the top of the mountain — and even more wonderful that you made the trek with people you love! Congrats on the book and thanks for visiting today with the Chicks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome, Elizabeth, and congrats on the book! Wow, what an incredible experience! I live near the base of the Oregon Cascades and love spending time in nature. I’m more of a “light hiker” and enjoy every breath of fresh air!


    1. Hi Kathleen! Thank you. Oregon is a wonderful place for hikes. I’m ususally a ‘light hiker’ too – except when my kids convince me to join them on bigger adventures.

      Liked by 1 person

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