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BOB KORNEGAY: Gearin' up and gettin' ready

OUTDOORS: The North Georgia mountains are callin' me

Bob Kornegay

Bob Kornegay

It’s time. I’m going to the mountains. North Georgia is calling. So are the friends who join me up there for a week each summer. They always open the conversation with the same foolish question.

“You ready?”

Am I ready? Is a pig’s butt pork?

I’m bad ready. I’m ready for cold mountain streams. I’m ready for high-country hiking trails. I’m ready for nesting warblers in Sosebee Cove and common ravens soaring above the summit of Brasstown Bald. I’m ready for feisty trout at the end of my fishing line. I’m ready for a week-long respite from oppressive heat and humidity. The fact it’s been so blooming hot this week makes me look forward with even more relish.

I’ve seen to my chickens, making certain they can get by without me for a time. In two days’ time I’ve removed two gray rat snakes from hens’ nests. I carried the critters a few miles north and released them. Hope my friend Matt at Kolomoki Mounds State Park needed two more gray rat snakes.

I’ve cut my Mama’s grass. Took three days. Lazy 62-year-olds don’t work as rapidly with a push mower as they used to.

I’ve gassed up my truck. The pump stopped just short of “Apply for Second Mortgage.”

I’ve been to the thrift store. Purchased an entire trip wardrobe for $20. See “I’ve gassed up my truck.”

I’ve cleaned my spotting scope. It’s been a “spotted” scope since I set it up a little too close to a flock of feeding gulls down in Florida last week.

I’ve checked my trout-fishing gear. My ultralight spinning outfit should make it through one more season. The drag on the reel works at least half the time and I’m pretty much used to those two missing rod eyelets. My lures are a bit worse for wear, but that’s okay. I always thought Rooster Tail spinners with all their paint and feathers looked a little too gaudy anyhow. My waders still have only one hole and my wading boot soles can be mended with minimal duct taping. Again, see “I’ve gassed up my truck.”

Pardon me a second. Another phone call.

“You ready?”

Is the pope a Catholic?

I’ve replenished my box of road food. Pork rinds, Snickers, root beer, mustard sardines. Senior citizens must give thought to proper nutrition when traveling.

I’ve evicted the mouse from my hiking boots and sprayed my staff for termites. Gee, that staff has been a good one. It’s helped me along many a mountain mile. My own hand-carved piece of yellow poplar. Might just cut and carve myself a new one this trip. Sure as heck ain’t gonna buy one.

Dadgummit! Another call. My wife. Same thing every year about this time.

“Are you really going away for a week and leave me here all by myself?”

Yep. Unless you have a boyfriend.

I’ve practiced my mountain dialect. It doesn’t pay to go traipsing through the Southern Appalachians if you can’t speak the language. One gets along much better if he’s adept at nasal twang and cut-to-the-chase conversation when he gets there. It’s also a good thing to remember there’s a very big difference between a north Georgia “ridge” and a south Georgia one. Likewise, “across the mountain” is quite nonspecific if one cannot translate well. As in, “Drive across the mountain and turn left.” Be sure to ask which mountain before you take off.

Riiing! I hate cell phones!

“You ready?”

Does a cat have a climbing gear?

I’m ready indeed. I’ve made a list and checked it. Not twice, but six times.

Now if I can just find it.

Email outdoors columnist Bob Kornegay here.