On July 23rd I climbed a literal mountain, Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak East of something.
Thirty feet or so on the other side of the water, was a 3 sided shanty, fairly well kept, with a Guns n Roses T-shirt hanging from the roof, a few porn magazines rolled in the rafters, a bench, random camping gear, and most impressive a chimney made of trash cans on the outside attached to a homemade oven and cooktop on the inside. Who built this? His or her shack became a focal point for much story telling. Something about a message left on the answering machine at our cabin and a warrant for Seth.
Flip flop heard me coughing and came out offering to "bang on my back or punch me in the chest."
In my research about my faux fear of bears I learned that 5 was the magic number of hikers. No reports of bear attacks in North Carolina for groups of 5 in the last hundred years. As a matter of fact, the number of fatal black bear attacks in North Carolina in the last hundred years was zero.
One of the natural highlights was definitely the bear footprint. We actually saw 2. The first one was much bigger than the second, so we decided it must certainly be Sasquatch. The 2nd was definitely the footprint of a bear. I figured the bears and cougars, coyotes and snakes were all watching us, but they had no interest in interacting either. My fear of wildlife was conquered when I realized we had similar desires to be socially distal.
After the Higgins Bald Split, we found a mountain stream, a watery flow, over and under some large rocks. We stopped. Click Click Clock and Lightning frolicked in a thin layer of fresh water sliding down the stones large flat surface.
Not long after we left them, I reminded everyone about perception. Those men made assumptions about us through men's eyes. They made subconscious decisions about our capabilities. I will not be defined by a man's perception of me. Blah, blah, blah, more positive smack talk.
Compass wasn't at the top, and we quickly learned that the restaurant we agreed to meet her at wasn't either.