Exploring

The young girl in me still loves a good adventure. Especially when it’s with my favorite guy and only granddaughter. My latest exploit started last Saturday morning. After loading up our gear to take to the camper on New River we headed to the mountain.


On the way we stopped in Sparta for a visit with my Aunt Lafayette. She only lives about ten minutes from our tiny plot of river frontage. Aunt Laf would love to follow me up to the river and hang out with me on the deck porch that surrounds our little home on wheels. The two of us have spent many hours sitting there watching the water flow north, its destination the great Ohio River… the mighty Mississippi, then off to The Gulf of Mexico. What a depressing thought to think Lou Gerhigs disease has robbed my aunt of spending any more days on the river.


As we were leaving Aunt Lafayette said she would love to go with us. Then added, “I can’t climb those steps up to the porch anymore, I’d have to be carried up them in a pack saddle.” What a wonderful sense of humor she still has. My granddaughter glanced at me with that, what’s a packsaddle look. If you don’t know what it is, ask an older person, they’ll tell you. As we left on that spring morning wet flakes of snow, (yes, snow on April 2nd) hit us in the face, automatically disintegrating as they touched our skin and warm ground.


On the ride toward Independence Virginia, we can see Buck Mountain looming ahead. We scan the lofty tops decorated with white snow. Emma, my granddaughter says, “I want to go up there. I want to go where the snow is.” So, after a quick lunch break at the camper we start our quest to the top of Buck Mountain, and to what is probably the last snow we’ll see until the coming winter.


I can’t help but wonder if my aunt thinks about things she’ll never see or do again on this earth. Too sad to think about, so back to exploring, in search of the cold, wet stuff. About five miles out of Independence, we see a sign that reads, Buck Mountain Road. A left turn takes us by another sign that says, Road Ends 1.3 Miles. There are a few houses scattered up the way for maybe a half-mile, then the road narrows and there is only enough room for barely one vehicle. As we ascend, we spot the first snow on the roadside. Then our old Ford truck starts to spin a little and Jerry pulls it into four-legged-drive, four-legged, that’s what he calls four-wheel drive, my husband, a master with words.


About half way up we come to another sign telling us we are at the end of state road maintenance. I wonder if we’ll keep going, silly me… Jerry is even more of an adventuress than I am. Another sign says the rest of the road is owner maintained, and to be respectful of it. There wasn’t the usual No Trespassing, or Keep Out signs. It was sort of like an open invitation for us to visit the mountain.  Surely no one lives up there. The road was now nothing more than a path, but we trudged forward anyway. Slowly up the side of the mountain we climbed, then there to the left movement, three deer. They jog off a few yards and stop, looking at us, wondering why in the world anyone would be driving up this old roadbed.


Finally in the distance, through the swirling snow, we see a house. A mile away from anything or anybody it stands, almost as if suspended in mid air. It sits at the top of Buck Mountain on a knoll with a panoramic view of all the lands beneath it. The house appears deserted, like no one ever visits it anymore. What a shame. The deck surrounding the home beckons us to come and sit for a while. To take in the beauty that surrounds it. A big wooden sign stands in the front yard. Carved into it are the words, Morton’s Buck Mountain. How would it feel to own a mountain?


As we turn around and head back down the cliff, I know I’ll never forget today, out with my family exploring the hills. There are so many things that we take for granted, like seeing those three Tom turkeys, beards dragging the ground as we left the mountain. One even spread his tail feathers and paraded around for us. Turkey’s are a proud lot. Dancing around, flirting with the world.


Later in the day as Emma spoke with her mama and daddy on the phone she excitingly said, “We went exploring today.” She went on and on about what we saw, saving the best part till last. Halfway down the mountain, her Pappy stopped the truck and opened the door, what was he doing? In about two seconds we felt what he had done as a huge snowball landed right in Emma’s lap. She was so surprised, and happy, grinning from ear to ear!


Before we got back to the camper Emma pulled my head down so she could whisper in my ear. “Let’s get Pappy back.” I answered, “How?” She says, “When he goes to sleep tonight we’ll put shaving cream all over his face.” I say, “That would really make a mess. Why don’t we just throw cold water on him while he’s in the shower.”


So that’s what we did! Ending another day of adventure. Fortunate, that’s what I am. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to visit some marvelous locations. I’ve gazed upon the peaks of Mount McKinley, witnessed the cliffs of Na Pali from a catamaran, and walked on the rocky shores of The Gulf of Mexico.  As I approach the fall of my life I realize there is so much more to experience, more than I’ll have time for. I can also appreciate the fact that I don’t have to travel to other states to be in awe of the land. Most of the time we don’t see the beauty that is right in front of our eyes.


What a great way to start our day if we could always wake up with this thought, “Wonder what adventure I’ll have today?” When fall turns to winter and my days are ending I hope I can say, without regret, that I have had my share of adventures, exploring this wonderful world of ours. My husband Jerry has a saying, “The best way to die is broke!” Look out Yellowstone here we come!



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