Every now and then, something magical happens on the trails.
Actually that’s every time. Every time on the trails. Something magical happens.
Last night was no different.
It was Christmas Night.
As most Sundays are now.
We were about a mile into the hike up the mountain. Maybe two. I don’t actually know. I don’t estimate numbers well.
But I know we were on the flat part headed over to the trail that takes us straight the fuck up.
I remember because GJB kept slipping. And tripping. And we weren’t even at the difficult part.
So I had to step out in front of him. Because I just couldn’t keep watching that.
And I was just cruising along. Enjoying the fall-ish air. When I heard GJB start screaming. The same way he did when the killer bees attacked him last time we went to Christmas.
And I was preparing to take off. I could hear the panic in his voice.
And OT was back there with him. So he didn’t need my help anyway.
But as I glanced back to see how many bees to anticipate, I saw GJB pick up a stick and move it. Away from him. After it stuck him. In the back of the leg.
About a stick.
And I was about to begin laughing. And pointing at him. And ridiculing him. Relentlessly.
But then I heard some four wheelers coming. That turned out to be two wheelers. But by the time I was figuring that out, GJB was screaming again.
But this time in excitement.
Bear! Bear! Bear!
You know how a baby will learn a new word and just point at an object and repeat the word?
That is exactly how GJB responds to bears.
I can’t really blame him, though.
It was majestic. Running across the ridge line above us.
And what do we do when we see a bear?
We stand there in shock. And awe.
And then start yelling at someone to take a picture! Take a picture!
With his phone in his pocket.
Yelling at me.
To get my phone .
Which was in my pack.
To take a picture.
While his phone was in his pocket.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
OT did get this pic.
It was a big bear.
Ginger wasn’t even scared, though.
After he left, we continued on. Basking in the aftermath of experiencing nature.
So, the climbing part.
I don’t need to describe the absolute bullshit this climb is every time I talk about Christmas, right?
But it’s, like, a really good kind of bullshit.
Its calves screaming, sweat pouring into eyes, heart beating out of your chest kind of bullshit.
That sounds like the best kind, right?
If it doesn’t, you should absolutely avoid Christmas.
We lost sight of each other pretty quickly.
Because OT thrives on bullshit. And GJB was coaxing an unusually slow Ginger along. And I was busy being average right there in the middle.
So I was completely alone when I came up on GJB’s poles. That the bees had thoughtfully gathered up and leaned against two trees for him. After he’d thoughtlessly thrown them around the mountain last Christmas.
As I waited to watch GJB reunite with them, I checked out the “massive yellow jacket nest” that had caused so much trauma last time.
Not sure what all the fuss was about.
Once we hit the top of the bullshit part, we crawled our way through the mango trees.
Which is my favorite part.
There wasn’t much of a sunset at the top.
But there was beer and dogs and good people and beautiful views.
And it was a perfect pull your hoodie down over your legs kind of chilly.
And we got to watch Roanoke gradually start to light up.
By the time we started to make our way back down, I couldn’t feel my hands.
Or see my feet.
I could see OT and GJB falling their way down the mountain.
About halfway down, OT did one of the most impressive fall flip rolls I’ve ever seen. The kind that probably would have thrown one or both of my hips out of joint. Probably both.
But he rolled right on out of it, and continued on down the mountain like a pro.
I also spent most of that time lobbying for a change in K-Rob-D’s Birth Christmas. Because I have a wedding on the scheduled date. And there’s no way in hell I can let someone’s love ruin my perfect attendance.
And OT and I are sitting members of the Christmas board.
We were prepared to vote GJ out and engage in a hostile Christmas takeover.
And we had just about bullied GJB into moving dates.
But it turns out my wedding is the week before.
So the current date stands.
My bad, GJ.
But really, you’re supposed to run these dates by the board before planning them.
And also, maybe establish an actual route.
Because as we got to the last mile back that isn’t any kind of trail, I realized that I have made this trip probably 10 or 15 times. And I still don’t know how to get through that one mile.
I’m pretty sure even GJB just kinda wings it.
Because I swear we never go the same way twice.
It’s ok, though.
Because I should never ever be alone on Christmas Mountain.
Christmas is for family.
And next time, Lil T is coming with us.
Because imma drop little bottles of Fireball the whole way to the top.