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Holladay Journal

The Significance of Mt. Olympus, according to Holladay residents

Aug 05, 2019 04:40PM ● By Sona Schmidt Harris

Mt. Olympus at near-twilight. (Sona Schmidt-Harris/Holladay)

By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]

Curved snugly around her base and slowly ascending her majestic slopes, Holladay claims Mt. Olympus as its own.  

Holladayites go about their daily business sometimes not cognizant of their regal giant. Still, one can barely look up without seeing it. Several former and current Holladay residents reflect on what Mt. Olympus means to them.

City Councilman Brett Graham said, “Mt. Olympus has meaning to me on several levels. First and foremost, it is a dominant landmark which I look for each time I fly into the Salt Lake Valley. When it comes into view, I feel home. From the valley, my city, neighborhood and home lay below and the mountains I love on either side.” 

“While Mt. Olympus is a constant, it also changes. I love seeing it capped with snow or watch the leaves change in the fall.  It is impressive in all seasons.”  

“It also represents a challenge for many to scale its peak and it brings back memories all the way back to the time in high school when a few buddies and I thought it would be fun to climb it with a generator and string a big ‘O’ in the trees to light up during the Olympus v. Skyline game. Needless to say, it didn’t happen . . . generators from the 1980s were heavy.”

“We are lucky to live below a beautiful creation,” he said.

Ninety-one-year-old David Taylor has been a hiker since he was 4 years old. A long-time Holladay resident, Taylor recalls his times at Mt. Olympus fondly. “At night, you could hold the moonlight in your hands,” he said.  

There are parts of the Mt. Olympus trail that are very steep. Taylor said, “When somebody says, ‘Oh yeah, we climbed Mt. Olympus,’ I ask, ‘Did you go all the way up?’” Instead of answering, they change the subject.

He said through the years the Mt. Olympus trail has been made a little bit easier.

“You can look around and see the valley. It’s wonderful to be able to see that,” Taylor said, his voice shaking. As he has grown older, his enthusiasm for the mountain has not dimmed.

“For us, and I would say for most of my children and their children, we have interest in Mt. Olympus. I think everyone in our family has gone up Mt. Olympus,” he said.

Former Olympus High School student Andrea Wilkinson said, “From the time I can remember, Mt. Olympus has always been there providing the eastern backdrop to my view. Her beauty and majesty are unsurpassed, no matter the season. However, she is especially beautiful in winter — after a snowstorm — when the sparkling white snow contrasts sharply against the blue sky. She is also beautiful in the spring and summer after a rainfall when her greenery is bright and looks full of promise. Mt. Olympus is a protector who looks over the vast valley onto those of us lucky enough to live beneath her magnificent peak — basking in her shadow and glory.”

Some Holladay residents climb the mountain and some wax poetic about its grandeur. In either case, Holladay and Mt. Olympus are intimately bound.

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