Note: I wrote this piece a couple years ago and enjoyed reading it the other day so thought I would post it. Enjoy.
Flipping Through the Years
Accidents happen no matter what you may be doing, but those of us who play, ride, climb, run, swim, etc. on a regular basis inherently take greater risks. The risk is part of the enjoyment; otherwise it would be a boring activity. I recently took a risk that resulted in me breaking my wrist and I will be home bound for a little while. No worries though, I have plenty of journals to draw from for my regular dispatch from the wilderness.
My journals are tattered photo albums with papers peeping out the sides, stains on the pages, and one has teeth marks where my dog, then a puppy, chewed at it. The older ones are crude and the written notes are brief with simple descriptions. The newer journals are more refined with notes that show the growing passion within me. All together they tell how a boy became a man.
“So, where do you want to go this week?” I often ask my brother this question when we decide to wander. This time we decided to head for a ridge we noticed long ago as kids. In our early teens we had built a “camp” that looked across the upper Mill Brook onto Misty Mountain. Just down stream there was a cirque with a steep ridge that had exposed rock. That was more than enough to stir our curiosity and so, a few years later, on a cold and snowy day we headed up the Mill Brook for a full day in the woods. We packed thermoses filled with tea and soup and enough cookies to feed a pack of starving coyotes. We headed along a trail that followed the west bank of the Mill Brook. The snow was deep but firm, so the going was easy in our snowshoes and we made great time. Before we knew it, we were at the home of an older friend. We stopped and asked if he would mind if we wandered across his property and chatted with he and his wife. After turning down a lunch we turned our attention to the steep hill that would lead us to our final destination.
The climb up the ridge was difficult and cold. The wind whipped the wet snow which coated our faces making us look like the sons of old man winter. We talked very little but often pointed out different things and exchanged joyous grins. As young men we were already bonding with quiet confidence. We reached the exposed rock ridge and looked east toward Misty Mountain and Waterford. We hunkered down and shared our lunch including every last cookie, still not talking, but knowing what each was thinking. At that moment we felt like we had topped Mount McKinley. We languished for over an hour before heading down into the small creek that had created this wonderful cirque. We crossed the Mill Brook and stumbled up to the road to home. Brothers, now tied closer through a silence shared in the wilderness, walked home down the Millbrook Road, young men acting like boys.