Tag Archives: hiking

Dear Mom, I’m doing just fine in Colorado without a gun

7 Aug

“You hear what happened in Colorado, at that movie theater?” The carpenter working on my Mom’s house stood there looking at me and dangling his paint-smattered hammer.

I said I did, then internally questioned whether I looked like the type of person to ignore national news in favor of reading People Magazine. Probably my hair. Anyway, we were standing in the middle of the living room with my Mom. She had just told the carpenter that I was leaving today, making the move from Boston to Colorado for a change of scenery that I’ve thought about making for a long time.

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This is the state of Massachusetts, or as I like to call it “the state that beckons Europe to come get in the van to play with its puppy”

“Let me tell you,” he started, planting his feet apart on the paper-covered wood floor. “Those shootings¬†never would have happened if there were tighter gun laws in this country. It’s ridiculous! Any Joe can go down to Walmart and pick himself up a [insert gun name here — frankly I don’t remember what type of gun he was referring to but I remember using Context Clues to understand that he was talking about a gun].”

I could see that he wanted me to agree with him, because that’s what people on vague/poorly researched political tangents want you to do.

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Instead I decided to say what I was thinking.

“I don’t think gun laws would have stopped him, I think he’s just crazy. If he didn’t have guns he probably would have found out some other way to kill a bunch of people.”

The guy had that glassy-eyed, far-off, ‘the-government-is-screwing-us-those-sons-of-bitches’ look that I’ve grown accustomed to as a child of a giant, Irish, middle class family. I knew that face well, and there was no way to reason with it.

Later, I said goodbye to my hair elastic-obsessed cat Ponyo and filled up my water bottle in the kitchen sink. My Mom and I hugged and walked out the door, said a 20-minute goodbye in which she scheduled me to come back for New Year’s, then I had to run inside to get a banana I had left on the kitchen counter.

I bumped into the carpenter in the kitchen. “You know what you need to do?” he said. “Buy a gun.”

I laughed. Then straightened my face because he was serious. “Are you serious? Why?”

“Colorado isn’t like it is here. You go hiking, there are mountain lions and black bears everywhere in those mountains. You need to protect yourself. I’m telling you, buy a gun. And you never know what type of situation you might get into out there when you’re all alone and female.”Image

I said I’d think about it, and silently appreciated his flexibility concerning gun laws, which apparently should be adapted to different situations.

Looking back, I now realize that the carpenter had painted my Mom a beautiful picture of me being ripped to shreds by wolverines and velociraptors after I innocently decided to hike up a mountain without a gun. Or getting beaten up in a dark alley somewhere, gun-less, and crying out “WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO HIMMMM!”

Just to let you know, Mom, the most intimidating animal I’ve seen so far out here while hiking has been a chipmunk with no concept of personal space. At one point he did try to bite my toe, but I came down the mountain unscathed. And yesterday, something bit my right ankle. I’ll admit, after I got bitten I spent the next half hour waiting for the spider/rattlesnake’s poison to travel up to my heart and paralyze me. But it ended up being a red ant bite (so someone told me). You can tell the carpenter that I’m doing just fine without a gun.

chipmunk eating

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No Gay Cowboys Here

15 Jul

Here in eastern North Carolina, I often get made fun of for reacting to things (such as the beach) like a toddler during her first ride on the teacups at the carnival. You know, she’s so exciting she’s shaking, and she can’t speak? Well, this weekend I drove 5 hours out west with a friend and saw my first, real, live, actual mountain range. Enter: The Blue Ridge Mountains.

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We climbed the oldest and tallest geezer called Grandfather Mountain. The hardest, longest hike to the top peaks began with a walk across the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, which was slightly disappointing because it didn’t swing at all! I mean come on, I wanted danger! It was very foggy, windy and cool when we walked across I frolicked across and my friend Rex laughed at me.

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Next up was the intense 4-hour hike to the peaks. What I liked most about it besides the views from the top of the peaks was the change in temperatures, and of course the fresh air. At “the bottom” (5282 feet) of the trail, the air was humid and warm inside the trees. At the top (around 5500 feet), it was still warm inside the IMG_0050trees but one step to the edge of the cliff and it was cold and really windy! Being a Northerner, that was refreshing after spending a few months in the humid South.

Before hiking Grandfather Mountain, Rex and I camped out at Linville Falls, a small national park off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a tiny hike out to these beauties.

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We “failed to see” the NO SWIMMING signs and put on our bathing suits. But alas, it was too cold. What, you say? A Northerner thinking Southern waters are too cold?! I know right, who AM I these days? Nah, but in the end what was stopping me from plunging in was the slimy rock that I would have to make foot contact with. ::shudder:: Anyway, what I liked most about the falls was the other side which totally wants to be a siiiiick waterslide with its 45-foot drop.

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So that’s my time spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was really really sad to leave. Can’t wait to visit the Smokies next!

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