The mountains are calling and I must go.
Like millions of other PBS-whores, we are watching with unfathomed enthusiasm the new series titled The National Parks: America's Best Idea. I am not sure why we are DVR'ing it as PBS doesn't air commercials, a very redeeming quality for a channel that is known to be heavy on the Appalachian programming. But perhaps we are too busy on Sunday nights to sit down and watch it properly, so we squeeze it in between CSI:NY and Lie to Me on a random week night. We watched the first installment last Friday, as we packed up our hybrid to head to the gorge...which is not really the same as heading to the mountains, but when you're at the bottom of the gorge and look up, there you have a mountain. It began with the story of John Muir and how he came to be so interested in a bunch of land that was in desperate need of saving.
Today, I have mixed feelings about Muir. Before Friday I just had canyon-sized annoyance. I think it has to do with the fact that when I was in high school, I was in the drama club. And by saying I was "in the drama club", I mean that I was a theater rat...a staging junkie...a harlot for hair and make-up. My fellow drama dweebs and I were entrenched in every production on the WHHS stage for 4 years. And then one year they brought in a man to portray John Muir. He sat on a stump in the middle of the stage, gripped a walking stick and told story after story about the greatness of nature. But John Muir was Scottish...so when you pair the thick brogue with a complete lack of set design and lighting plan, you've got me snoozing in the stage manager's loft. And that is how I've remembered John Muir for over a decade. He hugged a tree and never owned a Gillette. And that brings us to Friday.
The series is quite good so far and it gives you a firmer grasp on the birth of the national parks service and their struggle to conserve while still exposing. It's a delicate balance between sharing a national treasure with us and protecting it from us. President Bush had leave no child behind and Muir had leave no trace. Basically we shouldn't be leaving anything - as any army retreating from a battlefield will tell you. But even now you will find cellophane on the trail and Kroger bags in the creeks. The result of this behavior will, undoubtedly, be something sweeping yet asinine...like no food in the parks - and we're going to strip-search you when you enter the gates. Because it's the disregard of a few that sets the standard for many...
And there were many out this weekend. Nearly every campsite was full of couples, friends, and families that wanted to get one more weekend in before Kentucky turns its back on warm days. Neal wants to go polar bear camping (meaning we voluntarily sleep outdoors when there is ice on the cars...not pitching a tent with the help of a polar bear...which I also would rather not do). I say this is it, buddy. Get your kicks because we won't be passing this way again until May. I guess we'll see who wins. In the meantime, though, we hiked 7 miles, grilled pizza over the fire, drank percolated coffee, and melted cheese over the campfire (which you will, when paired with a water cracker, a basil leaf and a little sundried tomato pesto, slap your mama and declare yourself Queen of the Campfire). Here are just a few pictures from the past 24 hours. Enjoy and then go hug a tree for me...and hug one for Muir, too.
This is "Hidden Arch". Neal has re-named it "Hidden Hole" because although our picture makes it seem vast and voluminous, that is the beauty of a telescoping lens.
If you haven't seen Dirty Dancing, then move on...you won't get it.
A quick pic of the ONLY thing that will get me out of my Army-issued mummy bag on a 48-degree Sunday morning.
Good-bye campsite #10...until next May...or December...(we'll see who wins the arm wrestle).