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Smile, You're in Athens: One 'hill' of a small town to live in

“What the Hill?!“

Out-of-towners may exclaim as you present them with of one of Athens’ many hills:  “Wait, we aren’t walking up that, right?” “What this? This is just Jeff Hill, I walk this every day!” And in the next few moments, you will be amazed at how out-of-hill-shape your guests are.

You, on the other hand, have unknowingly been hill training since the first day you stepped on campus. Look at those ripped calves! Those weren’t always there! 

Unlike most, I have a love for hills. I was raised atop a steep street, moved to hilly Athens and even spent six months in an Australian township rightfully entitled “The Hill.”  

You could say I have become a connoisseur of cliffs.

You know you live in a hella-hilly town when you refer to them on a first name basis: Jeff, Radar, Bong, Witches, Madison, Morton, etc.

Let us begin with Radar Hill, the highest point within Athens City limits. Radar rests atop the trails of The Ridges and takes the cake for stargazing and sunrises. If you can handle walking past the haunted Ridges at nighttime, I dare you to climb Radar and see how many shooting stars you can catch. You don’t need a flashlight; fireflies will light your path.

One cannot go to Ohio University without experiencing a sunset surrounded by friends atop Bong Hill, the monstrous mound to the north of Long Run Road. Watching the traffic lights of town become twinkling constellations against the thick darkness of a spring sky is incredible.

Not many have scaled Bong Hill’s sister to the south, Witches Hill. Witches Hill is the best place to be transported to another world of boulder-top paths and tangled tree roots. With low-hanging rock caverns to protect you from the elements, Witches is the coolest place to watch a storm roll in over town.

No one knows how the hill got its creepy name. The name “Witches” could come from the legends of witch executions and burials in the hills of Appalachia, or it may be due to the supernatural-looking land formations along the top. Either way, the hill is worth a trek!

Athens actually boasts the second steepest paved hill in all of Ohio. Terrible Terrace Lane is located right off state Road 550. Not many people outside of the Athens Cycling Club have dared to bike up this 24-percent-grade monster.

Legend has it that a student, with a bike rack full of books, attempted to bike up Terrible Terrace until he flipped backward down the hill.

Oh, and I cannot forget ol’ Jeff Hill. Thanks Jeff, for getting our lazy butts toned and for making us arrive to class drenched in sweat. You have taught us perseverance and how to use a heavy book bag as a counterweight to keep from falling over.

So what have we learned?

Don’t ever shy away from steepness, for the view from the top is always worth the climb. One finds enlightenment by climbing closer to heaven and letting everything below you become smaller. Daily stresses seem insignificant when compared to the stretching horizon beneath you.I cannot explain the sensation — you just have to experience it. 

Next time you scale one of Athens’ hulking Hocking Hills, catch your breath, stop to look around, and notice how miraculous our world is. And don’t forget to smile; you’re in Athens.

Anna Moore is a junior studying magazine journalism and fine arts and is a columnist for The Post. Scale some hills with her at am846608@ohiou.edu.

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