There was a 50% chance of thunderstorms today, so we were prepared. We left Skyland a few minutes after 8:00am, after having a big breakfast and began our almost 10 mile hike to the car parked at Thornton Gap.
The trail was well marked and we never got lost. Like yesterday’s hike, we ran into a few other hikers, but not many. I had researched the pattern for thru-hikers and verified that most of them had already been through this section of the trail about a month earlier, on their way to Maine.
Luckily, it only sprinkled once for about 2 minutes and the clouds kept the temperature in the 80’s, although it was quite humid.
The longest hike Cindy had taken before this had been about 5 miles. She was concerned about hiking 17 miles in two days, but she did a great job! We only took a couple of breaks (other than when taking photos) and kept a good pace. I love to see people challenge themselves and realize that they’re capable of doing more than they thought originally!
One-third to One-half of the trail on today’s hike was rocks…like below. The shuttle guy, Rodney, calls them “ankle busters”! They made the hike more difficult, not only physically, but mentally.
There were a lot of flowers on the trail. I discovered that when my flash went off, the background was darkened, which really made the flower pop!
These look like the kind of berries that bears like. Luckily, we didn’t run into any… we only saw some bear poop on the trail…but it didn’t look fresh!
Cindy nicknamed this rock “Plumber’s Rock”…
After researching the area, I had reserved a room at the historic “Mimslyn Inn” in Luray, Virginia. It’s located within a 15 minute drive from Thornton Gap (where our car was parked) and has a pool and hot tub. As soon as we checked in, we took a shower, poured a margarita and went out to the hot tub. Our calves were sore and it felt great. The pool was the perfect temperature also. After relaxing for a bit, we were starving because for lunch we had only eaten an apple and a granola bar, so we went upstairs to shower and made our way to the “Speakeasy Lounge” for dinner. We both had a tenderloin wrap. The wrap was made with spinach…yum…yum!
I drove us to find some “White Lightning” (kind of like moon shine) and a blackberry syrup, so we could recreate the blackberry moonshine slushie drink we’d had at Skyland Resort. After returning, we took a few photos of the lovely grounds at the Mimslyn. They have weddings here and it is lovely!
We’re both glad we had the opportunity to do this and look forward to the next adventure!