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: