This week, guest host Donna of the Wind Kisses blog hosts the challenge she called “Over the Hill.” She writes, “This week the Lens-Artists community invites you to share images of what over the hill means to you. Maybe you enjoy watching ant colonies. Is mountaineering in your future? Does “over the hill and faraway” resonate with you? Is there a storm brewing, a sun rising, a challenge you don’t want to face? That age thing. The options are endless. I hope you will have fun creating something that represents over the hill for you.”
Donna tells the story of a trip through the Pacific Northwest and some of her “over the hill” experiences. For my response, I feature some less ambitious climbs, both of which involve stairs. I start with my opening photo of the side view of the Temple of the Sun God at Altun Ha in Belize. The image belies the difficulty as it doesn’t show the entire range of steps required to get to the top. When I suggested to the three others in our party that we should climb to the top, I reminded them that we might never have the opportunity to do so again. The four of us headed upward.
As we neared the top, we had some more stairs to climb. They were all the more difficult to climb because the step heights were not uniform. Defenders of the temple built the stairs with differing heights that soldiers would memorize so that they could climb at full speed while attackers wouldn’t know the patterns and the changes in height would slow their ascent.
Our efforts were rewarded by a bird’s eye view of the entire temple complex. The climb was a challenge, but the reward was worth the effort, and it still showed our group of over-the-hill travelers that we could still get the job done.
The front view of the Temple of the Sun God looks similar to this, another temple, in the complex from the front view. It would appear an easier climb from the front, but that is not the case.
Back in my home state of North Dakota, I was on assignment near Devils Lake for my volunteer job with Civil Air Patrol. I had the morning off, so I went a few miles south of the city to White Horse Hill National Game Preserve and drove to the base of the preserve’s namesake, White Horse Hill. Around 100 steps and a steep climb are required. The camera lens doesn’t show the steepness of the hill well, but you can judge by the number of wayside rest benches that you can see for people to stop and take a break.
At the viewing area on the top, I couldn’t resist taking a selfie with those steep stairs behind me. It would be a lot easier going down than going up, for sure.
From the top of the hill, you can see for miles. This panoramic shot features a mostly westerly view.
The view to the northeast features a glimpse of one of North Dakota’s larger lakes, Devils Lake. The rewards of the view and the achievement of the goal are the only rewards for this old man who has spent over 70 years on the planet. Truth is, in the most recent years, these challenges would be more difficult than when I accomplished them in 2020 and 2021, but given the opportunity, I’ll certainly continue to make it over that next hill for as long as I can.
For pixel peepers, click on any image to visit the gallery in my Flickr account. Thanks to Donna for this week’s challenge. Next week, Tina hosts the Lens-Artists Challenge. If you’d like to join in the fun but aren’t quite sure how to get started, click here.