The past few days have illuminated a truth that I think I've known since I moved to Florida, but that I tried very hard to escape: I'll always be a mountain man at heart.
This morning I awoke at Black Mountain Campground an hour's drive northeast of Asheville. The temperature upon waking was a brisk 58 degrees Fahrenheit and there was a gentle mist lining the treetops. The forest floor was moist from a combination of the rain during the night and the morning dew.
I had yet another glorious night's rest—probably the best I've had in months since the brilliant, dry, cool Florida winter gave way to its horrid, sticky summertime cousin. Which is a bitter irony, considering I sleep in a luxurious king-sized pillow-top bed in my apartment, but on a paltry twin-sized home-made couch conversion in Vincent's belly.
As I made my way through the winding mountain pass back toward Asheville this morning—with its hairpin switchbacks and crisp air, I giggled with a feeling of conviction that this is the environment in which I thrive. Perhaps not Asheville or North Carolina; the south has a political undercurrent to which I still cannot acclimate. But the mountains, generally, will always have my heart.
The next couple days I'll be spending in a rented room in West Asheville so that I can finally take the time to soak up the local culture and perhaps meet some of the locals. I'm eager to take a shower, to shave my head, to make a triumphant return to urbanity, at least for a little while.