A tributary of the Kentucky River, Ramey Fork, literally a creek running through Haymond, branches at the mouth of a holler in the upper end of the camp. There are a number of places like this where, as it makes its way to hook up with its mother, the creek divides and sends off other smaller channels of water. Welling up from underground sources on hillsides adjacent to this fork, springs cascade down and join the water’s constant flow. Its rocky bed gets clogged with all manner of things: organic matter for sure, dams, both manmade or the result of flooding, and debris thrown in the creek as a way to have it disappear without even the first concern for people living downstream.
The unpaved road up the holler winds itself into the mountainside parallel to Ramey Fork. Unlike most hollers, the road to Ramey Fork is level and easy for hiking. At the head of the holler an abandoned tipple stands, looking like a giant black insect readying itself into action, taking its prey off guard. The road veers to the right and up a slight incline to a cabin.
I was 17 in the winter of that year, 1966. The summer of love was nearly eight months and three thousand miles away. Christmas came and went. Snow fell. There was still a week before school would resume, ample time for more snow to cover Haymond in its deceptively warm white blanket. After that winter I could never hide from myself again.