A View from the Top
Notes from the Front


Gordon Cherr,


 I am sitting on the back porch, tying on my running shoes. The sun is rising over Little Cedar Mountain, off to the east. It is a scene worth watching, and I do watch most mornings. The house is at 2200′, according to my topo maps, Little Cedar Mountain’s summit is somewhere north of 3600′ as best I can tell. The sun rises right directly over the top of the mountain these mornings although I know that it will move a little left or right of the summit as the calendar year progresses. The mountain is solid, immovable, an anchor in an otherwise changing world. It is my anchor.

Running is my anchor too. Our return to Asheville from Tallahassee has been rough and rocky, much more emotionally laden than I could have ever imagined. But every morning as I lace on the shoes of choice for the day’s chosen run, I give thanks for the simple pleasure of stretching my legs and my lungs in the cool mountain air. Much as I did in the often heavier tropical and subtropical air of Tallahassee. It is all good.

Not that this adaptation takes much time, and it has not for me. I have started to visit the old trails here, Sunset and Hard Times, Sidehill and Ingles Field, Homestead and South Ridge. Yesterday I spent several quiet hours on Rice Pinnacle, running up for 55 minutes, then down much faster. The wild flowers are still blooming here, the birds seem to sing harder this time of the year too, things are different from what I remember, but familiar enough too. Running the Mountains To Sea Trail that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway for miles on end seems much the same, even if the climbs are now longer and steeper than I recall. Must be some unreported geologic activity or something. Maybe the intervening 15 years has something to do with it? No…

Asheville, like Tallahassee, is blessed with a vibrant running community and a trail network that is simply unsurpassed. And runners everywhere, any time of the day or night. Still, I cannot think of that and not miss Tallahassee and all the good that we left behind. Yet, overall, a good trade for us.

That said, the sun has now risen over Little Cedar Mountain and the shadows have lifted off Butler Mountain (4200′), slightly off to the southeast. This my cue to get moving again, off the back porch and out onto the trails and roads. Off to Sunset Mountain this morning. Oh, did I tell you how I was outrun by a turkey hen there, last week? Someone said it was the absolute best story about getting “chicked” that he had ever heard. That is another story for another time.

Keep on truckin’, my friends. The roads and trails are calling to us.