For a Friend Arriving After Dark
Thank you for braving the unseasonably cold temperatures, black ice, and wind advisory to deliver chocolate, edamame, and your smiling self to my door. Sixteen hours of rain followed by subzero temperatures (with wind chill) and snow flurries turned my road into an Appalachian Siberia. Please take the following precautions making your ascent:
As you approach the end of the hardtop, you’ll see my Volvo parked along the right side of the road. Note the shimmering vein of black ice running down the middle of the road. It’s narrow enough to cross, but I’m just warning you. It’s there. It’s alive.
Pass my car and head up the gravel, driving beyond the white house and around the first small bend to the left. Here you’ll notice Little Rock Creek garnered with astounding ice formations. Accelerate up the next hill and, rather than making the sharp left turn, park your car in the small, flat spot next to the creek. Exit your vehicle. Grab your flashlight.
Here, your true journey begins. Attempt the major curve on the right side of the road, then traverse the swath of ice mid-curve and finish by walking up the left side. The next hundred feet or so are free and clear of ice. Soon, you’ll notice a single-track sheet of ice on your right that quickly becomes a two-track glacier. Walk between the tracks until you can go no further, then hop across the right track and walk on the uphill side of the mountain until you come to a natural spring. Here, you must traverse what is now a 10-foot-wide swath of ice, then summit the rest of this section on the left side of the road.
Completing that, you’re free and clear for another 150 feet. Your final ascent to the house will prove most challenging. Your destination will appear closer than it is. You’ll come across an insanely dense swath of ice conveniently named Holy Shit Glacier.
[Holy Shit Glacier, Fork Mountain, NC]
All of your intuition will tell you to veer to the right side of the glacier. Do not do this. Instead, note the small path I have raked for you following the left/downhill side of the glacier. Thou the path be steep and the fall a long way, you must ascend in this manner (leaning on the tree at the proper juncture) if you wish to reach your destination.