As I worked with the book designer on the layout of the book including the organization of different sections of the text, we struggled to find a title for the final section. I wanted to summarize at the end of my quest, what had it all meant?
Because this final few pages of text came after my account of the last highpoint completed, my book designer recommended that we label it “the epilogue.“ In contrast to the 95% of issues on which she and I were in total agreement, I balked at this title from the start. By the third time she repeated this suggestion, I had finally figured out why I didn’t want to use this label. Yes, I’d just finished #46 and explained in the book why #47-50 were beyond my physical capacity. Yet I couldn’t squelch the hope that maybe – someday – I’d be able to reach at least one or more of these four remaining highpoints. Denali in Alaska remains totally out of consideration, even in my most elaborate fantasies. Yet what about the highpoints of Washington? Montana? Wyoming? The well-known refrain set in: “If I’d done #46, why not try #47…?” If I realistically thought I could successfully summit any of them, I wouldn’t have ended the quest and written the book at #46. Yet hope springs eternal.
No, we couldn’t label the final section “epilogue.” We needed to keep it in reserve for future use.
Over the past decade, Jane Trowbridge Bertrand combined her new-found love of highpointing with her academic career at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. She travels six times a year to sub-Saharan Africa in connection with her work in international family planning.