North Mountain Challenge Drama

Before I tell you this story, let me just say that I only had one cup of coffee before we ran the mountain this morning.

Plus. North Fucking Mountain.

Very little good ever happens there. For me.

Also, I didn’t really wanna go.

I could hear my phone ding with a new message while I was downstairs getting coffee.

Please be canceling. Please be canceling.

I’m not sure who I was talking to.

I’ve met these people.

“See you at 7!”

But…it’s raining outside…


Why do I have such badass friends.

Fine. I’m leaving now. But if I can find some less badass friends on my way, I’m just gonna go with them for coffee.

But I went.

And some shit went down.

And now I’m home and showered and in comfy clothes and on my third cup of coffee. So I can probably tell this story without making myself sound like as much of an asshole as I probably actually was.

So, North Mountain in the rain. After two solid days of rain. Is…well, just as bad as it is when it’s totally dry.

OT told us to head out without him.

So I told the others.

He’s not coming?

Oh no. He’s not gonna let me catch even with him in this challenge. He’s just gonna start late.

The word bullshit was thrown around a lot. What we’re about to do is bullshit. Why are we doing this bullshit. Who’s bullshit idea was this bullshit.

Sunshine says she doesn’t love it. But she really does.

Where have I heard that before…?

No. I don’t love it. But also, yeah. Ok. I kinda do. But I don’t. I really really don’t.

Heading up the initial climb was slippery. North Mountain Overlord is the most graceful faller on the trails. I swear. At one point. He slipped. And fell. Into the most beautiful tricep hover I’ve ever seen.

Was that on purpose…? (That’s not the me being an asshole part.)

When we hit the top, we could see the clouds below us. And K-Rob-D said something about a view or some bullshit.

That’s not a view, K-Rob. That just means we’re climbing up the worst fucking mountain in the world. (Still not the asshole part. Keep reading.)

Finn’s Dad spent the entire ridge line asking if we were done yet. Like he’d never been on this fucking mountain before.

But apparently it had been, like, a year and a half since he’d last been out there.


Soooo, even most of my running friends don’t run this bullshit every other fucking week.


Once we hit Grouse, North Mountain Overlord and Speedy Lang took off. I threw myself against the side of the mountain so I could let Lang past me. You don’t wanna be in front of him when he decides it’s time to be out.

And I was following GJB fairly closely.

But about halfway down, he stopped and looked back. Said something I couldn’t hear. And then took off again.

So I also stopped. And looked back. And said something that no one could hear.

Because there was no one around me.


We’d apparently just lost four of our own at the top of Grouse.

I stood there for a while. Waiting for them to pop over that ridge. Thinking it would make a cool picture. But then I remembered how much of this bullshit Mountain was left. And that I was hungry. And hadn’t had even close to enough coffee yet.

So I took off. (This is also not the asshole part. There were four of them. Even if all of them were hurt, at least one of them should have been able to use their phone to call me.)

And anyway, by the time I was approaching the fire road, Speedy Lang was headed back up Grouse to walk them down.

Seriously. This dude continues to demonstrate hero status care for others. It’s quite remarkable.

Because I sure as fuck wasn’t running back up that bullshit to get them.

Made my way over the fire road. All alone. And then up Deer. Again. Completely alone.

And while I hate this mountain to my very core, there is something so incredibly perfect about being on the mountain in complete solitude while also knowing that your people are all around you.

It’s like social introverting.


But also. North Fucking Mountain.

And my hip was breaking the fuck down.

And I’d already twisted both ankles at least 18 times. Each.

As I was running the ridge line back over to 311, I came across two hunters.

Hey! How ya doin?

I’ll be better when I’m off this damn mountain.

Yeah, I know-

Nah. For real dude. No time to chat. I need to get off this fucking mountain.

And so maybe that was a little assholely of me.

But also.

Still not the asshole part.

Because when we got back to our cars. In the parking lot. By the fucking road. And these people have almost bribed me (with food, obviously) to continue on up Dragon’s Tooth.

All of fucking Duck Dynasty came running through yelling Bear! Bear!

And then started fucking shooting.

Beside the parking lot.

Towards the fucking road.

And. Ok. So all of my time in animal rescue, I prided myself on not becoming one of the crazies.

Like, I could have rational conversations about animal rescue. And not start screaming and cursing at people.

But apparently that ship has fucking sailed.

I told my people, I need to leave. Or I’m gonna fight.

And I was preparing to get in my car.

I was.

But when Head Dynasty jumped in his busted ass pick up and started pulling past us to leave. With his dogs locked in their tiny little jail cells. I said some things.

That were maybe not complimentary.


Loudly enough for him to hear.

And he stopped.

Oh. He wants to chat about it.


So I met him at his pick up.

And we…chatted.

And. Ok.

So, here’s the thing.

I have no issue with hunting.

I grew up in a hunting family.

Kentucky White, y’all.

Deer meat. Rabbit meat. Squirrel meat. Gamey as hell. But we ate it.

Hillbilly runs deep in my family.

But dude.

First. Don’t hunt shit you’re not gonna eat. (He argued this point with me. Saying he had every intention of eating the bear. And cool. Maybe that’s true. That shit is disgusting. But ok.)

But also. There are fucking twenty of you. With two dogs each. Chasing one fucking animal. That is not fucking hunting. That is you not being able to carry your unhealthy ass more than half a mile on your own, so you have to surround the poor thing in order to stand a fighting chance against a far superior animal.

And. You’re shooting towards the fucking road! Where people are driving! Families! Small fucking children! I mean, the small children aren’t driving. They shouldn’t be driving. But they’re riding in the cars that are being driven. By families. Down the road you’re fucking shooting at!

I didn’t say any of this to him, of course. No. I went into a nonsensical slew of profanities that probably didn’t make any fucking sense.

But one cup of coffee. Remember?

And after Head Dynasty and I finished our interaction. He continued out onto 311. With the rest of the fucking Dynasty. And these assholes were driving and running up and down the highway. Down the middle of the highway. Looking for the fucking bear they’d presumably wounded.

And as I’m just trying to make my way home. Before I get all of my friends shot. This mother fucker stops his busted ass truck in the middle of fucking 311.

Right in front of me.

And gets the fuck out.

And. Ok. So there was this time in high school. After a basketball game. When I got into it with a minivan full of boys from the other school. And they stopped at a stoplight. And got out. And surrounded my car. And I stepped the fuck out then, too.

But I didn’t do that today. Because Head Dynasty was not getting out to continue our discussion. He was waving me around him. Because he was gonna go finish shooting at the bear.

And really. That needed to happen. Because who knows what kind of shape it was in at that point.

But this is only part of the asshole part.

I mean, yeah. Homeboy was armed. And his adrenaline was probably pumping from just shooting a fucking bear. And probably me getting in his face was the wrong move. And maybe put us all in danger.

But also, my people weren’t leaving. They were standing there waiting to see if they needed to jump in at any point.

But the extra asshole part is this.

OT was still out on the fucking mountain.

By himself.

Kidnapping one of their dogs.

Who was fucking terrified.

Because I get that not all hunters treat their dogs like shit. I do. I know that.

But I worked in rescue long enough to know that a good number of them do.

And that poor dog ran with OT from the bottom of Grouse all the way back to the parking lot.

Do you know how fucking miserable your life has to be to choose that run over just chillin with your person?

And as OT was returning to the parking lot. With this kidnapped dog. All 30 of the Duck Dynasty brothers had reconvened there. Pissed. After our exchange.

And I had peaced the fuck out.

I mean, so did everyone else.

But I’m the one that triggered the initial confrontation.

It’s fine, though.

OT was fine.

We’re all fine.

I mean, the bear’s not fine.

And it doesn’t sound like the dog was fine. Returning to the Dynasty.

But I can’t focus on that.

I’m gonna just go ahead and focus on the Bedford Humane Society newsletter that came in the mail today.

Look at those sweet faces looking for forever homes.

Seriously. I don’t usually almost fight grown men.

But when I do. It’s because they’re being straight assholes.