Friday, December 5, 2008

over the mountains and through the woods... faculty meetings we go one Friday a month. Most of the time faculty meetings are held via interactive television, but once a semester all five campuses must converge on one location, this Friday was the one. The goal not neither fun nor interesting merely obligatory, but the trip was stunning.

The route from Whitesburg in Letcher County to Cumberland in Harlan County, goes up over Pine Mountain ridge, a elevation rise of more than 1700 feet. A warning sign sits at the bottom of the mountain, telling motorists that the weather on the mountain may be significantly different. Today, that difference was clearly visible in the snow frosted trees above 2500 feet. The mountains looked like chocolate treats that had been dipped in powdered sugar.

Because the sun warmed air was slightly warmer than the snow, wisps of mist clung to the snowy woods on the mountain top.

Pine Mountain marks the very edge of a major change in geology and geography. North and west of Pine Mountain -- looking back towards Whitesburg -- one can see fifty to a hundred miles, across low rolling mountains. But when one achieves the summit, and looks out east and south one can only see the next, much higher mountain ridge marching off in the distance. I always have the sense of leaving one world and entering another one every time I go over Pine Mountain.

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