7/2 Pass Mountain Hut (15.3)

July 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

For several days we had been hearing about a fantastic breakfast available at Skyland Lodge in Shenandoah. Food being among our top priorities, Maggie and I did the miraculous, we got moving early in the morning. A mere seven miles separated us from something other than granola and pop-tarts and we were determined to make it by the 11am cut off, leaving at 8am. A few miles into our dash we met a southbound hiker who informed us that it was a breakfast buffet as well! We ran off, rudely, while he was still talking about the plentiful dining options. We arrived at Skyland at 10:38, dripping sweat to discover that breakfast was over at 10:30 and they would be closed until noon. Disappointment, anguish and blind fury coursed through us, dissipating only when we were directed to a small cafe with coffee and pastries.

Having just busted out 7 miles, we elected to wait in the comfortable lobby for the hour or so until lunch, looking forward to enjoying the view from the elegant 1930s style dining room. This decision cost us 5 lazy, lazy hours. After waiting for and completing lunch, we noticed dark clouds on the horizon. We took that as a sign to browse the gift shop. Once those clouds started dripping, it only made sense to fill out post cards. When Joe Cool showed up, those rainy clouds were still idling over us with the lay-about carelessness of a teenager at a malt shop. It seemed destined that we have coffee with her while she ate her meal. Well, wouldn’t you know those clouds erupted and started to downpour…luckily the bar had just opened. A beer later, we summoned the courage to walk out into what was now just mist and hike the last 8 miles to our destination at Pass Mountain along with Joe Cool. On the hike, we passed what would have been a great view in clear weather.

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The clouds pouring into the valley were quite lovely.

It was another evening where we finished in the dusk, and another evening when we arrived just in time to wake up Earthman as we cooked under the glow of Joe Cool’s Christmas tree lights.