Devil’s Courthouse from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. Elevation 5720.
Even the vocabulary is unfamiliar to me: ridge, gap, valley, pass, switchback, hollow, notch. There’s been very little in my upbringing to acquaint me with a love for the mountains or the many words used to characterize them. I grew up in another place, with other treasures.
I’ve played in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks as an adult, where instead of sweeping views, one gets mostly strained glances at the sky through bare branches. These mountains are not so jumbled and rough; instead they’re all curves and circles, bulges and dimples and woods that go on forever uninterrupted.
For all that it felt exotic and alien, my spirits were lifted by the visible rush of spring as it crept up the mountainsides and the sweet light of sunset polishing the days. The throaty croak of ravens flying in tandem in a valley below, dark woods shot through with gleaming white dogwood blossoms, tiny hemlock cones and banks of trillium; all spoke to that part of my heart that gasps at such sights.
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