North Mountain. Again.

Freakin North Mountain.

Again.

This is my last full week before I officially go fulltime at the high school.

So, I’m trying to balance some fun adventure with the last major push in hours at my non-profit job.

Today Rogue said she wanted to get some adventuring in.

We didn’t really specify what that adventuring would be.

But we knew we needed something.

North Mountain.

We landed on damn North Mountain.

Because freakin Drinkwater won’t finish up this challenge. And freakin Parkhurst won’t stay away from it.

Rogue doesn’t get overly invested in competition with anyone other than herself.

But she’s in the top 5 of this challenge. And it’s put her through too much to lose that spot this close to the end.

And me? Same.

And Tiny Brazilian? Well, she just wants to be where the adventure is. I’m not sure she’s paying attention to much of the details.

She doesn’t even know how many loops she has in the challenge.

So after some noncommittal messaging this morning, we decided to meet up at North Mountain after TB finished up work. At 2:30pm. Just before the hottest part of the day. In July. On the world’s worst mountain.

And as it turns out, Rogue had a huge portion of her flesh cut out of her arm this morning. And so was unable to pull on the appropriate attire for North Mountain adventuring.

I’d say that I’m not sure why she would even plan North Mountain right after surgery.

But it’s Rogue.

None of us question her choices anymore.

But God knew how to reign her in.

Sports bras are damn near impossible to pull on even when you have two fully functional arms. No way you’re getting one of those bitches on when you’re missing a solid portion of one arm.

So she didn’t make it to North Mountain.

But it was too late.

North Mountain had clearly gotten word that the two of us would be out there together. And that we were fully prepared with hydration.

So North Mountain planned accordingly.

Because what faced Tiny Brazilian and I was nothing short of the average Rogue-Street Legal Shit Show.

We spent the first mile and a half climb trying to maneuver through the jungle-sized spider webs. Unsuccessfully. The first one I ran into snapped as I hit it. It snapped. It actually made the snapping sound. If you’ve read my book, you may remember a similar scenario when I was walking Piggly Wiggly during his foster boot camp.

The spider that built this North Mountain web must be a close relative to that one. I’m certain I have spider babies living in my ears now.

That’s about the point that TB took the lead. Because I pretty much just stopped moving in protest.

Rogue let’s me take breaks.

“Come on, mama. We keep moving.”

I’m bigger than her. She can’t tell me what to do. She’s not the boss of me.

“Let’s go! Get this done!”

Yes ma’am.

While I was fully hydrated, I was still struggling. The sweat was pouring off of me. Literally. I had a waterfall rolling down every surface of my body.

I considered saying something when I started feeling a bit dizzy.

I almost turned the hell around when I started getting chilled.

That’s a bad sign when you’re running in 90 degree weather, right?

But as I was about to insist that we stop, TB got a phone call.

May as well get that.

So she did.

I mean, she didn’t stop. But at least it slowed her down. For a minute.

Once she finished her call, we took off in run again. Eventually hitting Grouse.

She was pretty excited about the downhill run. Grouse is normally a fun little segment. But I warned her about the overgrowth.

Me: “You can’t see what you’re stepping on if the overgrowth is still bad on the way down. You don’t want to step on the wrong thing.”

North Mountain: “Oh, you mean like this?”

Soooo, that big girl had a rattle on her. And she shook it at us.

The terror was real as TB screamed and came to a dead stop. I got excited initially as I thought she’d spotted a bear.

No.

Not a bear.

TB: “ What do we do?”

Me: “We’ll, first we take a picture…”

Beyond that, I had no idea. Except to position myself safely behind TB. And watch her try to shoo the snake away.

Then she tried throwing rocks near her. Not at her. We didn’t want to hurt her.

TB: “Do snakes have ears?”

Me: “I don’t know. I can’t hear you from way back here. You’re doing great.”

Finally she began to move. On down the mountain.

Now, if you haven’t figured it out already, this snake was smarter than us. And if you know this trail, you know why what we decided to do next proves just how much smarter the snake was.

Because as the snake began to move down the mountain, occasionally stopping to rattle at us, we saw our opening. To keep running. Past her. And on down the trail.

Down to the trail.

To the switchback…

Me: “Wait. Which way did she go?”

TB: “Down.”

Admittedly we stood there for several minutes. Undecided what to do. We’d run ourselves into a trap.

If we kept going down the trail, the snake would undoubtedly be lying in wait on the next switchback. But if we turned back, the snake may still be close enough to the be lying in wait back where she originally was.

Fuck.

Look. I’ve gotten enough miles in. I don’t need this challenge that badly. I think we’re safest turning back. She clearly thinks we’re idiots. She’s not gonna expect us to figure out her plan.

So I put my hands high in the air. Just in case she was watching us. I wanted her to know I had every intention of complying with her orders.

And we slowly eased our way back up the path. Very slowly. Painfully slowly. To the top of Grouse.

We were now on high alert for snakes and for all of the massive spider webs we’d managed to crawl under on the way out.

I was still leading us. So I assumed a sort of Bird Box posture and took off running.

And then…the skies opened up.

And I mean, they opened the hell up.

It was none of that rain all around us but not on us bullshit Rogue and I experienced on our dehydration run.

I stopped to check back on TB when a bolt of lightening struck close by. Like really close by. Like right the fuck beside TB.

“Did you see that?”

That large bolt of electricity that landed beside you? Yes. Yes I saw that.

And as the skies shook at us, we took off again.

I was desperate for water. But my extra bottles were in the back of my pack and I just couldn’t risk stopping to switch them out. We didn’t have that kind of time.

And as we finally came down off that mountain. That ugly, ill-intentioned mountain. That bitch of a mountain. The rain stopped.

And the sun came out.

I can still hear that little b-word laughing at us.

I don’t give a good damn about that challenge anymore.

As far as I’m concerned, that snake shut the mountain down today.

It’s closed.

She runs that shit.

Parkhurst can have third place.

I can’t even care.

That’s the snake’s mountain now.

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