My kungfu brother & I finally had enough of our vital energies aligned to trailrun The Chimney Tops, a 2-mile, straight-up trail with large rocks & crazy roots & other true tests of the mental & physical! It was a heart-breaker of a hike, much less a trailrun. Throughout the journey up my brother & I passed wavering mortals unaware of the Glory that was awaiting them at the very edge of their physical thresholds…
The ever-winding vertical path reaches up to the heavens at a daunting 4,800 feet. It’s a double-capstone knob created by God which pierces out along the eastern shelf of The Great Smokey Mountains. What is actually the Chimneys is a sickening, zig-zag of bare rock summit made of prehistoric slate rock, phyllite,& metasiltsone… the series of “chimney tops” stick out into blue space above the green earth & shrinks everything else down into nothing.
The Wanderer, @ times, had to crawl along slick vertical slate on all fours! He was humbled by the amazing geological formation! Both Life & Death were easily at hand that Sunday… There were moments, very close to the end, that the trail seemed to be a long horrible ladder up with no end in sight. The Wanderer grew tired near the 2 mile mark, but in his mind he was sure he’d only traversed around a mile at that point. The constant straight-up run was a mindfuck.
In tandem, we trudged up slowly, mechanically past spent families, ambitious date-hikes & spirited youth groups. It was a glorious Sunday to be visiting one’s personal & private lord.
The History (per Wikipedia) of The Chimney Tops tells the story of an Native American legend. To the Cherokee, Chimney Tops is called Duniskwalgunyi, or forked antler, referring to its resemblance to the antlers of a deer. Legend has it a captured Cherokee medicine man, Aganunitsi, in exchange for his freedom, searched remote parts of the Smokies in hopes of finding the giant reptile, the Uktena, and seizing a powerful amulet from its forehead. In his quest, Aganunitsi searched distant gaps & peaks in the Smokies before he went on to Duniskwalgunyi, the Gap of the Forked Antler, & to the enchanted lake of Atagahi, and at each found monstrous reptiles, but he said they were nothing. My kungfu brother & I kept this story in our mind throughout the journey up.
To be cont…