It's bucketing rain as we climb the narrow trail out of the Linville Gorge. I haven't been in rain like this for years- hard, drenching, turning the trail into a running river. We've been jumping off of boulders into the swimming hole all day, we're already soaked, now the rain just feels warm.
When the lightning comes, Erich and I start talking back and forth about reverse triage and if the heart would really spontaneously re-start after a lighting strike. I am thinking about feather burns and my friend Connor getting struck and thrown against a rock wall as the storm gets closer and closer, or more like the storm has always been there, and we are getting closer to it as we climb higher up the ridge.
Thunder is cracking above us and echoing through the gorge, the flashes of light coming in faster intervals. Finally Dave shouts that we can hike along and talk about lighting death all we want but he's running for it. So we all start running, sloshing through the shin deep water until we're out of the forest and we make a running dive into the car. The road is washed out and gutted with potholes, the wheels spit gravel and grind.
Wild boys on wild roads that lead to wild places. We hiked up the river to a deep, cool spot where no one could find us.
Two weeks deep into my life in Asheville. If you could see the sadness over leaving Washington it might look like faint, feathery red patterns over my skin, but the heart, old soldier, didn't take long to start up again.