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View from Pisgah

View from Pisgah

It might be true that I climbed Mount Pisgah in part because the name made me giggle, but Pisgah is not funny. Pisgah is a serious hill in the Blue Ridge Mountains of  North Carolina that gets to be called a mountain because it is taller than everything else around it. The hike up Pisgah is very nice. You pass a lot of people in flip flops who would look out of place on a real mountain. And if you hike past them with a backpack as I did, they will stare at you as if you were some sort of strange nerd. Because hiking Pisgah with outdoor equipment is like taking a tent and survival gear to the cinema in case a storm blows in while you are watching Harry Potter and the Chamber Pot of Pisgah. Or something like that.

Path to Pisgah

Path to Pisgah

The Mount Pisgah in North Carolina is named after the biblical mountain from which Moses first saw the Promised Land. In both places one should have an expansive view over promising territory. Moses in his excitement might even have marked this territory as his, but the Old Testament is silent on that Pisgah’s etymology.

When I climbed Mount Pisgah, I passed flip floppers who scoffed at me. I passed cigarette smokers who coughed at me. And at last I reached the summit where I could look around and see an impenetrable fog in all directions. I thought of all the times I had climbed for hours and hours in the towering Cascades, daring avalanches and crossing dangerous terrain just to have this exact same view. White cloudy foreverness. Moses doubted and struggled, but at last he saw the Promised Land stretched out before him. Whereas when I was on Pisgah, people just peered into the fog and said, “Wait, is that Greenville down there?”

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