The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was LUSH. And just for fun I’m going to throw in a few humongous — but interesting — words I’ve come across in my reading recently:
Vertiginous – related to vertigo. Causing dizziness; marked by turning or sudden changes.
Temerarious – foolishly adventurous or bold
Fulminate – to issue censures, railing accusations, or vehement denunciations
Up The Mountain
My wife and I met my old friend Pete at a restaurant, enjoyed a meal together, and planned to spend the night at his place near the summit of a nearby mountain. When we got back to our cars he told me, “You’ll love the view tomorrow morning but I’ll admit the road to my place loops around some.”
My wife and I exchanged looks. Twilight was settling in. How would we manage unfamiliar turns at night? She was nervous about traveling after dark at the best of times, never mind on winding roads. I wanted to ask Pete to lead us gently but he was already in his car.
At first the county highway was fairly straightforward with deep woods on either side. I could easily keep Pete’s tail lights in view. However, we were soon on a fairly steep grade negotiating ess curves. Pete was moving at a good speed but I swallowed my fears and trusted he’s had enough experience driving on this mountain.
Dusk gave way to darkness. The lush growth thinned out and we started seeing chunks of rock at the roadsides – with hairpin bends in the road around them. I desperately tried to keep up with Pete as he zipped around the vertiginous curves on this rapidly narrowing road.
Not as temerarious as Pete, I slowed down when my headlights lit up a rock wall on one side and the blackness of space on the other. At one point I unconsciously edged away from the precipice on my left and got too far to the right. With a clunk the car bounced through a deep pothole. I prayed for my suspension and each of my four tires!
By now my wife was fulminating about this crazy ride. As we approached another hairpin curve with a huge slice of rock rising straight up on our right and a flimsy guard rail on our left, we spotted a sign: “Watch for falling rock.” At the very edge of the pavement lay several shadowy lumps: small boulders that had already tumbled down.
My wife squawked and clutched the door handle. “This is crazy. What are we supposed to do if we see rocks falling on us – drive off the edge?”
“You’ll have to do the watching,” I shot back at her as I slowed down to negotiate the curve. “It’s all I can do to watch Pete’s tail lights.”
As we went around this hairpin curve I found myself squeezing the steering wheel so tight my fingers were going numb. Pete’s lights had disappeared. But he must have realized we’d dropped behind; a moment later I saw brake lights far ahead. Then we passed through a relatively straight stretch and caught up with his vehicle. I relaxed my grip on the wheel. My shoulders ached. It felt like we’d been driving for hours!
After a couple more loops, Pete came to a stop and signaled for a right turn. He headed down a narrow lane and I followed. Finally we came to a stop in a clearing and saw the most heartening sight: a rustic log cabin, lit up invitingly.
“Welcome here,” said Pete. “I hope you didn’t find the road up too bad?”
I shook my head. “How can you do that every day?”
“There were a few times I was sure we’d go over the edge,” my wife chimed in. “Or that my heart would stop. But then I imagined myself lying in the back of an ambulance as it raced down the mountain. My heart skipped a beat or two and started pumping frantically again.”
“But you’ll love the view in the morning,” Pete promised again. “And I promise the road will be easier going down in daylight.”