Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gotta Have More Grayson!

My knees can't decide if they're in pain, locked in a double back position, or just entirely overused. Either way - I have hiker hobbles like I nearly forgot existed. It's kind of like... I crushed the miles between Glencliff to Gorham, crashed on the northern and and am now trying to climb the stairs of The Barn hostel... if things aren't looser by tomorrow I may have to sit and scooch around on stairs. Yeip. All that to say - I just spent 24 face melt, heart grappling hours in the Grayson Highlands. Geronimo is sacked out in bed too. I just kept thinking - over and over - "Virginia, you never get old" to which I had to shake because... well... The Old Dominion is... O L D. But seriously - seas of blue ridges unfurling as far as the eye can see, wildflowers, windswept evergreens and lush mossy primeval summits, how could you get enough? Ironic... my ten year high school reunion is quickly approaching. And I find myself replaying so many moments down in Southwestern Virginia. The rock climbing trips with E&H outdoor club, the photo excursion with that guy who... maybe thought it was a date? I found this nook of the state needing to be near the AT, wanting to be near my love. And ten years later - after a through hike of the entire Appalachian Trail Geronimo is my sole steadfast hiking partner, and my once love is engaged to a beautiful dental hygienist, living in Calgary Alberta. C'est la vie. So my mind wanders to other Highland times- Carrie running across Whitetop Mountain. Luke sorting out our map. And Hasty, with the blueberries on Pine Mountain. So rich. Dappled with joy and bittersweet heartstrings much like the Highlands themselves. Yet somehow - in the elation and trials I am so enamored and thankful for this landscape. To have a wild space to perch on a rock, overlooking Virginia, North Carolina, (Tennessee?) wind blowing my hair into it's best pony mane imitation. Birds. Sunrise pink clouds. It's a little disturbing... the happy familiarity a long distance hiker has with the stench of sweaty synthetic clothes. Three hours in I am overwhelmed by all the scents of my old world - saturated dirt, cool rocks, evergreens, stinky hiker. "Wish I could bottle that," before I reconsidered.... would I REALLY burn it as a candle... yeah. I probably would. Unfortunately dreams have their waking, and busting my butt to churn out miles and get to work on time overtook my body. The hiking was quick, but not unpained. I am not too proud to admit I fell... (only once though!) And despite heavy reliance on my poles and arms... my knees are currently on strike. So tonight I lay me down to sleep. Visions of Grayson swirling 'round my head. I hope that baby mohawked pony makes an appearance in my dreams. I hope one day - you can be lucky enough, to know exactly where I'm at, riiiight now. God Bless the Grayson Highlands.

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