This, as it turns out, is one of those weeks in which I have no clue.
Mrs. Applejack Society might claim that I’m clueless most weeks, so I should probably clarify.
I mean to say that I don’t have a clear Porte Crayon idea to send your way for this week, but since I’ve started panhandling asking you to become a financial supporter of the PCAS I thought I’d better come up with something.
Gotta keep the content coming. Wouldn’t want you to think that I’m trying to pull a fast one.
In lieu of something specific for this week, I thought I’d tell you what you might expect to see in your inbox this summer. I’m not necessarily making any promises, mind you. This is all dependent on time and, of course, money. I’m still putting a kid through college, after all.
That said, the following is sort of my wish list of the steps I’d like to take in Porte’s shoes.
You’ll for sure hear about the Ice Mountain hike. It’s the most immediate thing on the Porte horizon. The hike is scheduled for May 21st, in less than a month.
If you’re not familiar with Ice Mountain, it’s in Hampshire County and is cared for as a preserve by the Nature Conservancy, so it’s not like you can just get out of your car and start wandering around. The Conservancy would frown on that.
The group requires hikers be guided by one of their docents — a good thing, if you ask me. We’re likely to learn a lot more about the flora and fauna and why ice can be found there in the summer months, hence the mountain’s name.
Speaking of docents, Steve, the guy who coordinates the Ice Mountain hikes, called me the other day, and in the course of our conversation I told him about the PCAS and why I’m interested in hiking the mountain — namely that Porte sketched it and used it as the setting for the jousting tournament that brings his ten-part series “ The Mountains” to a close.
Steve then laid some knowledge on me. The cabin in the Ice Mountain sketch? It’s still standing! I’m making arrangements to take a good look at it after the hike.
Meeting people like Steve, people who have a piece of the puzzle you’re putting together, is one of the great things about working on a pandemic project like this. They turn you on to places and events you wouldn’t know about otherwise.
For instance, I had no idea about “The Fly Birds” until I saw Steve’s post about them on Facebook. The trio is performing at the River House in Capon Bridge Saturday evening, May 7th. If you want tickets, here’s the link to the FB event. Also, here’s a video that sold me on the idea of heading over to Capon Bridge, the “Gateway to the Mountains.”
The “The Fly Birds” put me in mind of Dillie Wyatt, the young fiddle player that Porte wrote about in “ The Mountains.”
Should be a fun evening.
Moving deeper into the summer, I’m planning to round up a posse to go trout fishing and knock around “Porte’s Playground,” in the high mountains of West Virginia.
That’s a no-brainer.
Trout and Porte go together like peanut butter and jelly. They are intrinsically linked. Thing is, I’m better at eating PB&Js than I am at fishing, so expect hijinks.
I’m also hatching a plan to drive up the Shenandoah Valley with Porte’s Virginia Illustrated as my guide. VI (for short) was Porte’s follow up to his initial 1853 splash in the pages of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. I’ve got the Valley penciled in for August, timed for when Augusta County, Virginia holds a jousting tournament that I want to experience. It’s an annual event held at Natural Chimneys State Park, a place Porte sketched for his Virginia illustrated series of Harpers articles.
Killing two birds with one stone.
That’s pretty much my “Summer with Porte.” If you have any other ideas on what I should see and do, I’m all ears. Send me an email or drop a comment here.
I’ll leave you this week with a picture of our Ornery Dog Jasper. He knows nothing about Porte Crayon, but he is cute. Figured he might be enough to dupe you into a becoming a paid PCAS subscriber