It wasn’t intentional, but I haven’t done a good job of concealing how much I love mountains. As geographic desires go, my fascination with mountains wasn’t cultivated from a young age — I only vaguely remember my first trip to Seattle, and that memory features heavily the Boeing plant tour, not my hike up Rainier two days after. But maybe it sparked something: some fried nerve that turned into an obsession seeing me visit Rainier five times in seven weeks in 2007, or the craze that brought me to Switzerland five times in 2011. (I did the math on this one: a typical weekend, say Friday-Sunday, is 48 hours. On a trip to Switzerland from Stuttgart, I’d spend 25% of that driving and another 25% sleeping — leaving me no more than 1/2 of the weekend to do what I wanted to do. Who in his right mind would take 50% odds like this for five times!)
But perhaps there is an underlying assumption that my definition of “mountainous” covers an area containing peaks higher than 12,000 feet, for it wasn’t until I had been in Charleston for 90 weeks that I visited the Blue Ridge Mountains waiting just 5 hours away from the Lowcountry. I thought only Rainier changed moods without a moment’s notice; this trip showed me just how wrong I was.