Meeting Elvis and Yeti on Mount Rainier

How Elvis talked me into writing an article about the Mac Davis songs that he recorded in 1968–1969

Looking at Mount Rainier from the Cowlitz Divide Trail, a 10-mile out-and-back trail that features a river and is rated as a difficult hike. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and backpacking and is best used from July until October. (Use of this lovely photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.)

EACH YEAR I HIKE MOUNT RAINIER. I use the Carbon Glacier trail and I don’t ascend the whole mountain — that takes days and a team of other hikers. And I have to go it alone. This is just a vigorous day-hike that gets me up to about 7,000 feet where I can look down into the massive glacier.

I love the hike as it’s a rigorous outing through an often gloriously beautiful environment. But I have a specific reason to be on Ranier, on a specific date, alone. Because that’s where and when Elvis wants me to be on a certain day each year and that’s where I go each year because that’s the way it is when Elvis wants something.

That’s the way it is because that’s the way Elvis and Yeti — who I call the Demanding Duo — want it.

It’s simple, really. I hike up there, I hang out at a certain location — no, I can’t tell you where — and then Elvis shows up and we have a little get-together. Mostly it’s for me to bitch and moan about how bad things are in the world. E listens politely (and we all know how good a listener everyone says he was/is), gently moving his head from left to right and muttering, “My boy, my boy.”

Of course, he’s never alone — Yeti always accompanies him.

How Elvis could ramble on about a new book. I couldn’t get him to shut up about Ram Dass! He also told me that some book that hadn’t been written yet with the word “Celestine” in its title was going to play a part in the future so I should get used to it. That was confusing because he hadn’t told me about his traveling in time yet where/when he met my wife years before I did and knew what kind of books she would read. (Photo: personal collection)

I know you won’t write any crap

Then he tells me that no matter how bad things are, no matter how big a mess of blues the world seems to be in, everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. The first time he told me this, I got angry: “Where did you get that schidt from?”

And that’s when he told me about the flying saucer’s library (I knew about the aliens and the saucer — how else would he get up on the side of the mountain being old and out of shape?) It was there that he found a copy of Ram Dass’s Be Here Now and discovered it was better than Benner’s The Impersonal Life and Yogananda’s Autobiography Of A Yogi combined!

Anyway, after I kvetch, he usually tells me a few things about his old records that no one knows. Last year he suggested that I revisit my articles on the Gold Standard Series and really, really look atnot just see — the orange and red label records.

Then he tells me to go back down into the world of men and spread the info by writing my blogs, especially Elvis - A Touch Of Gold. And then I always get a gentle admonition: “Now I know you won’t write any crap about me being fat, right?”

The night before the hike, I always cook up a dozen burgers at home. Big, fat burgers with bits of onion and garlic and some soy sauce and a few other secret ingredients kneaded into the meat and cooked into the patties. And I always use sesame seed buns. E and Yeti (who I call “Bob” because he’s never confided his real name to me) take them back to the saucer and to nuke later on.

As for why Yeti is always with Elvis, he’s a bodyguard/companion and E treats him like the newest member of the Memphis Mafia. So I should say that things are actually the way that Elvis and Yeti want them to be. (I call them The Demanding Duo, but that’s another story.)

Finding Graceland is a 1998 American film that stars Harvey Keitel (who believes that he is Elvis) and Johnathon Schaech as two lost souls. Bridget Fonda turns in a marvelous performance as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator! This is probably my all-time favorite “Elvis movie” and has nothing to do with this article about Elvis and Yeti and me. This is the Spanish language poster for the movie, which was apparently released without “Finding” as part of the title. (Photo: personal collection)

Obits saying the same bland things

This last hike was special as it got me out of civilization during this never-ending pandemic. When I got there, I knew something was up because E and Bob were already there.

We skipped all the usual pleasantries and E came right out and said, “Neal, um, someone real special to me hasn’t got long to be here now. When he passes, there will be a lot of the usual boolschidt obits, saying the same bland things, you know.”

“Who are you talking about . . . ?” I responded.

Elvis interrupted, “I want you to take your time and write something different, something special. This guy helped me when I needed help, you understand? He got me over the hump and back to where I once belonged.”

“What are you talking about, E?” I responded.

“You’ll know and when it happens, when he dies, you’ll think of me.”

Mac’s first album, Song Painter, was released in 1970. It included fine versions of “Memories” and “In the Ghetto.” It was one of the first albums that are designated as singer-songwriter but, perhaps because it’s too pop and too country, Mac’s album never receives that designation. (Photo: personal collection)

Mac Davis

On September 29, 2020, Morris “Mac” Davis died. I got right to work on an article about Mac that was something different, something special. Just like Elvis told me to.

To read what I wrote, click HERE.


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Neal Umphred

Neal Umphred


Mystical Liberal likes long walks in the city at night in the rain alone with an umbrella and flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig.