Two sided

I felt like a giant. The feeling, surreal.

Standing above the borders of three states, the wind at my back and rain beating against my neck, I was on top of the world. Dozens of times I’ve stood at the Pinnacle overlook, but always on sunny days when tourist flock to the top of the mountain. Today, I was the only person there. I climbed up onto the rock wall and watching the fog roll in.


Most days you can see Fern Lake, Middlesboro’s source for water. You can see three cities, Harrogate, Middlesboro and Cumberland Gap. Today, I could just see glances of Cumberland Gap as the fog broke as it rolled in. I felt a strong push to my back. I almost fell, but caught my footing on the slick rock wall. The wind was so forceful, it reminded me of standing on a mountain top in Hawaii where the wind could take your feet right out from under you. You have no control over your own body. I tried to turn and watch the fog roll from the South, but the rain was turning to ice and felt as solid as the rock I was standing on as it hit my eyes.


At the time there seemed to be nothing else. It seemed like there was no way existence could be under all that fog. The weight of it would just smother the city out. It was just me, the mountain I was on, and the clouds bringing in what was now snow.

My hands were numb to the point that I couldn’t adjust my camera’s settings anymore but still had enough feeling to slightly sting. I didn’t really even care. I just put my camera inside of my raincoat and watched the clouds roll up and over the Tennessee mountain and into Kentucky, where they would stay in the crater of Middlesboro.


I followed them. Down the mountain, around every curve and back into the same city that was previously whited out. It wasn’t breathtaking now. Looking up, it was just rain. Without the elevation, it’s just back to wet, nasty weather. I couldn’t see any good pictures anymore. I didn’t have that high I did before at the mountain top. But I guess life is just like that sometimes. One minute you’re up, and another you’re down.

But it’s good to know nothing is stopping me from climbing back to the top.


All photos on Beyond the map stars are property of Brad Luttrell. If you are interested in purchasing pictures, please email 


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