Adams Canyon is a popular hike in my hometown. The trailhead is only a few miles up the highway from my parents' house, so I've hiked it multiple times. Pretty much everyone in my hometown has hiked that canyon more than once.
Everyone, that is, except the moms.
See, Adams Canyon is also one of the most treacherous hikes I've ever been on. I'm pretty sure the only reason teenagers get to hike that canyon is because their moms have no idea just how dangerous it is. You cross a rocky creek bed several times, once on a rickety, old bridge that was rickety and old ten years ago, and you also scamper across a forty-five-degree cliff face that will dump you fifteen feet into that rocky creek bed if you lose your grip. Like I said, treacherous.
So why is it so popular? I'm sure some people hike that canyon for the thrill, but most of us hike it for the waterfall. After curving around a final cliff, the trail up Adams Canyon dead-ends in an unbroken forty-foot waterfall that you'd never expect to find five minutes from the burbs. It really is breathtaking and one of the best thoughtful spots I've ever found.
But here's the thing: About a quarter of a mile down the trail from that unbroken forty-foot waterfall is another much wimpier one. I suppose it still qualifies as a waterfall, but the drop is only around ten feet, and it slips and spills over a bunch of rocks and broken logs. As you admire this wimpier waterfall, you can look up the trail and actually see the final cliff around which the real waterfall waits.
But the first time I hiked Adams Canyon, I made the mistake of stopping at Waterfall Wimpy.
In my defense, I'd never hiked it before, so I didn't know what I should have been shooting for, and neither, apparently, did the other people I was with. We'd heard there was an awesome waterfall at the end of the trail and mistakenly assumed that Waterfall Wimpy was it. The trail widens out at the end (to be honest, it's not very well-defined to begin with), and we assumed that that final cliff was the end. That there was nothing more to see.
How wrong we were.
I'm not going to spell out the metaphor, mostly because I think this post will mean different things to different people, but as I drove past Adams Canyon the other day, I knew I had to blog about it. I'd be interested to hear what the metaphor means to you, though. And of course, if you're ever in Davis County, Utah, and want to hike a fairly treacherous but fairly awesome canyon, I'll happily give you directions:)