Another Healing

Another Healing

Monday, August 22, 2011

Camel's Hump

Camel's Hump -- about to become famous as part of the setting in Notice 

This is one of my favorite mountains.  I've climbed it a few times -- it's one of several Vermont peaks that is over 4,000 feet (4,083 to be exact, which is high for the east, though they laugh at us in the west) -- and the summit offers beautiful views of the Champlain Valley, where I've lived all my life. So when I needed a peak in Notice, Camel's Hump was an obvious choice. Poor Varian gets into quite a situation up there.

The Native American name for Camel's Hump is the Couching Lion, and in my opinion, it's a much better name. We certainly do not have camels in Vermont. And no, I didn't misspell "couching." Lots of people mistake the word for "crouching" and think that some European who'd been to Africa thought the mountain looked like a lion, crouching down. This is completely wrong.

The word "couching" is something you've seen a cat do -- it's when they stretch out their front legs and kind of stretch out backward, keeping their front legs out straight before them. They often yawn when they do it. Many years ago, Vermont had a population of mountain lions (some believe we still do), and the Native Americans who lived here saw the mountain as a couching mountain lion, having a peaceful, early morning stretch. From the moment I heard that, I started to see the mountain as a couching lion, though I refer to it by the European misnomer.

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