Step 1 is not the hardest, though it has a reputation for being such.
(It has been worn more than all the others, by countless feet that have passed before you so it is softer and lower and easier to climb.)
Step 2 and Step 63 are the most difficult, for very different reasons.
There is no step 72, for superstitious reasons.
There are 59 different steps filled with doubt.
Step 99 will boost confidence, but only if stepped on with both feet.
On step 147 you will realize whether you should be going up or down.
(It will likely be opposite of the direction you had been traveling, but you will find new steps on the reverse trip.)
You may stop and rest whenever you need, revisit past steps or never look back.
The steps are what they are, for you to use as you decide.
About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.