News and Announcements

Interested in learning about blacksmithing? Read this!

--News & Announcements--
Upcoming projects:
Building a Frame Saw
Forging a Copper Kettle
Making a pair of leather work boots
Forging and Fletching a Bodkin
Flocking a drawer interior

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Ascent

A Wanderer's Verse

Hidden pools and darkened dens,
          Where songs of springtime never end;
Winter flees our weary lands
           And brings to sow with plough and hand
          To fields tilled loam aweigh.
Freckled ferns, damp with dew,
          Near heart of mountains where all things grew,
The Way oft come and leave behind
          A wake to the weary, wanderer's mind:
          Lost for those untrue,
Where road will lead and stars alight
          The grey beyond gives way tonight.
Sundown, moonrise, heavens sing
          Guided by our home's calling
          And the Road that lies beyond.
Yet those by twilight 'ere who comfort mourn,
          And long for the familiar sight
Never know the beauty that lies
          A journey beyond our sight.

Secluded by the southern shore from the great mountains in the north, the end of the last year and the latter half of the present has seen precious little to answer the call of the wilds. In the wake of an ankle injury that same prospect of a return has been growing unquietly for some time now.

As a prelude to climbing Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, I ventured out towards the mountains of upper South Carolina. Although the true high peak lies some number of leagues to the west and north of Pinnacle Mountain, the summit of the evening was the highest fully contained within the state. Grey clouds rolled in as winter reluctantly gave way to spring, masking the browns and scorched orange of a leafless forest.

Come the following week, when I was more confident that my slow recovery would hold me through a more treacherous ascent, it was back to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This time, the omens of darkness and fog rolled heavier upon the road, limiting visibility to less than twenty paces in every direction.

On the eve of the first night we hiked to the summit of Mount Mitchell where a small observation platform lies beside the tomb of Rev. Elisha Mitchell, after whom the mountain was named. Due to the long hour and the clouded view, we made our way down the eastern slopes of the ridgeline to make camp for the night. Come morning, we would return to the summit and traverse the northern ridge towards other distant peaks.

With the eager anticipation to see the stars as I did on the slopes of Mount Washington, the tripod captured the brief holes in the lingering fog. Despite the haze, the stars crept out of hiding and shone their primeval light upon a small clearing.

With the dawn came relief from the freezing mist that clung to us in our sleep, and upon reaching the summit once again, the spine of the world offered us a distant shores across a sea of rolling clouds.

For their name, the Blue Ridge Mountains are truly blue, even when the trees are all laced in the colours of decay. Whether by tint of the air or something more, the trailing mountain peaks stood in vibrant shades of blue reserved for glacial waters and the purity of the southern seas.

After the brief stay at the summit of the eastern half of the country, we returned to the trail towards three other peaks, Mount Craig (6648ft), Big Tom (6581ft), and Balsam Cone (6586ft). Hiking out and back caused us to summit the middle two peaks again, totalling 8 6000+ foot summits across the day and a half on the trail.

Although far different from the northern giants I have grown accustomed to, the southern mountains are not without their own sort of beauty. In the late spring and mid fall when the foliage has had a chance to dominate the valleys between, it may be a more enticing trip, yet even so the chance to return to the wilds is something that I will not long be without again.

No comments:

Post a Comment