Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Whitetop biking; more of.

First of all, a limax maximus, or a great gray slug, as found under one of the planters outside. The hole on the side of its upper torso is a breathing hole!

Secondly, this is going to be another short post, since my folks are down here this week, and 've got packing/cleaning/etc to do before leaving for the farm.

Elrin and I biked down Whitetop again, 17 miles that took us about 4 hours. Shuttle: 26$. Experiences: priceless.

It is impossible to describe the beauty of the region in words, and do it justice. There is about fifty different kinds of green in any one direction, and rocks, gray and brown and pink, jut out ever which way, threatening the trail. Rhododendrons have finished blooming, but there are cancerweeds, and mountain dandelions, and mountain laurel. The bugs are plentiful: not only the biting gnats and mosquito larvae in the stillpools beyond the mountain river, but millipedes, massive swallowtail butterflies, and others, whose names are a mystery.

There was a spot along the river, where the afore-mentioned butterflies converged to drink. They were not skittish at all, and we've actually gotten to pet one on its fuzzy back.

River cuts through rock, leaving water-smoothed boulders in its wake. Under the trees, these begin to be consumed by moss so green that it hurts the eye. In a hollow of one such boulder, we discover a clump of grass studded with little blue stars. Quaker Ladies.

We see a snake at one of the bridges, a slow, brown-black-rat-snake, about to shed. It escapes the attention unhurriedly, heading down into the beaver dam below.

Elrin’s bike keeps breaking, but since we’ve got all the tools needed in my backpack, I don’t mind. It’s another excuse to poke around in the crevices of the rocks. We meet bikers by the handful, and hikers with massive backpacks that go all day, and stay, at night, on the occasional small openings with fire pits.

Light is filtered through the branches above at all times, playing tricks of lemon-yellow in the grayness of shade. There is no god. There is, however, the natural world—a thing infinitely superior in its magnificence.