Hurricane Ian hit with heavy rain and winds late into the night. We were woken up several times but happily remained dry and warm. We were even lucky enough to have not been dripped on by the cracks in the roof. It was challenging to get out of our sleeping bags but knew we only had 6.5 miles to our destination. The promise of warmth and comfort made facing the day much easier.
The heaviest rain came in over night and we ventured out on trail in light rain that still managed to quickly drench us. It is no longer the warm refreshing summer rain that makes a long day of hiking tolerable. Coupled with chilly temperatures and 30 mile per hour wind gusts, we were cold and soaked through. Luckily on the way back to the trail from DC, we had decided to book a room at Skyland Resort in SNP. Skyland is more of a tourist destination than a thru-hiker destination. It’s a fairly large but rustic looking lodge with dinning and several sitting areas. The trail hikes right by it and we were originally planning to hike past it right when Ian was hitting. When we saw they had rooms available we figured why not? It was no trouble to get to and we could wait out the cold wet weather in comfort. The forecast hadn’t changed either, Ian is going to linger in the area until Monday so we opted to take another detour.
We’re grateful the terrain is gradual and mostly rock free allowing us to move quickly. The heavy rain created deep puddles on the trail so within minutes our feet were drenched. How does it always seem to rain the most shortly after we get new shoes? I guess we’ll have to get used to that wet shoe stink for another 500 miles. We moved well in the conditions and within a couple hours we made it to Skyland! Before our room was even ready we had changed into dry clothes, and were sitting in the lounge area with hot drinks. Much better! Throughout the rest of the day the weather has stayed consistent: wet, windy, and cold. We are glad and fortunate to be able to take another detour and wait out this miserable weather.
To our surprise we were woken up a few times in the night by a mouse trying to steal our food. For a moment we forgot if we were in a shelter or a hotel. We reverted back to our thru-hiking food storage tactics and went back to sleep. The hotel is rustic and we probably shouldn’t be surprised there are mice with the high volume of tourists that stay in this area.
We enjoyed sleeping in and laid in bed all morning. Outside it is still cold, wet and windy. The weather has approved and we’re looking forward to getting back on trail tomorrow. Although a bit antsy we have used this time to rest. Eric has noticed improvement with his ankle. We also have been able to dry out our clothes, air our sleeping bags, and clean the tent. It’s hard to give up the temptation to drink beer and watch football on a rainy Sunday. The Patriots were also aired as regional game.
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