Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 4 Descent of the Priest

Day 4
Who put that boulder there?
The Descent of the Priest
Our co-campers leave before we do. We are in no hurry. We have the 4000 foot descent of the Priest and our wives are not due till noon to pick us up. I have planned well in terms of food and clothing. I have worn all my clothing and only once. By the time I am done with a morning snack I will have eaten all my food except for one serving of tuna fish and I have stayed hydrated.
If only there were time to climb every mountain.
We begin our walk with an ascent of a few hundred feet to the summit of the Priest. We are rewarded with a wonderful northern view and a strong wind that almost blows us off the rocks. We cross the summit and begin our descent and are soon rewarded with a southern view. For the next half hour we are walking a downward trail along a ridge of rocks that at places is less than 20 feet wide. Between the trees and boulders we can see both northern and southern views. We then begin the switch backs. The trail book says there are 38 but Bo, counting in Spanish, numbers off 43. (Someone might call that annoying and wrong. I wouldn’t.)
Bridge Over the River Tye
The fresh air and energy of the day starts my mind working on a new novel entitled The Descent of the Priest which will consist of 38 chapters that slowly, but graphically chart the fall of my main character the Rev. Mo into an ever greater and greater wilderness of depravity. His fall will be imaged through the book as he makes ever more frequent visits to the tattoo parlor increasing his body art. Beginning maybe with a simple heart then adding an angel to one side of the heart and then a fallen angel to the other side of the heart. The angels then begin amassing armies to battle for his soul. I share this rather brilliant idea with Bo who suggests I find a different name for my main character. Now I ask, do you think that was helpful critique.
View from the Bridge
For some reason I want to do our descent quickly and we do it in 2 and a half hours. About 30 minutes of that were spent on the two overlooks and in one ‘pack off’ break. We end at a gravel parking lot and route 56. It is 10 am we have two hours before our wives arrive. We cross the highway and a few yards on the other side we find the Tye River. It is about 100 feet across and 2 – 3 feet deep here. The Appalachian Trail crosses it on a beautiful suspension bridge which is of course the Bridge Over the River Tye. We take off our hiking boots, socks and shirts (ONLY) and go and sit in the river for about 45 minutes it feels great. We pass the time with a final snack and then our wives arrive at noon with cold sodas and fried chicken and stories of their own. We get to share our lunch with a fellow hiker from Australia who is on day 8 of a 20 day hike. He tells us this chicken is the first meat he has had in ten days because two days before he started hiking he had all four wisdom teeth out. And I think I’ll stop there.
Thanks Bo, for planning a great hike.

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible journey you have taken, physically, spiritually and creatively. I love the title of your novel and the metaphor of the tattoos.

    I assume the priest will do more than get tattoos, which I don't find inherently evil, though I do think it would be odd for a priest to get them. Actually, you have me wondering now--do priests and pastors have tattoos, perhaps from a former life?

    I, too, would change the priest's name. "Mo" sounds like someone who WOULD get tattoos and possibly mug old women. You don't want it too obvious. Make his name somewhat holier or even neutral to get the contrast of good vs. evil or both sides of coin that could go either way.