I’m driving toward Mount Charleston on 214 this morning, watching the sun rise orange and hot in my rearview mirror and listening to NPR. Billy Bragg is talking about the Newport Folk Festival, and he gives a hilarious account of Gillian Welch fighting airline delays to arrive 30 seconds before her set starts.
Disoriented and surreal, she broke into a version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” which NPR offers a snippet of. “Feed your head … Feed your head.”
Maybe it’s not quite what the Airplane was thinking when they wrote the song, but that’s exactly what I’m doing as I ascend Mount Charleston, watching the temperature gauge drop steadily while my truck climbs to 5,000, 6,000, 7,000 feet. When I get out to start hiking the Bristlecone Loop at 7 a.m., it’s 48 degrees. After the heat of the Vegas valley, it’s like a cool, pi