Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Pause that Refreshes

We are taking a few days off to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It's difficult to explain to folks that two retired people have to block off time on their calendars months before in order to get away even for a couple of days, but it's true. And what exactly are we getting away from? Nothin'! Just enjoying a change of scenery at one of our favorite spots in the Smokeys.

On our drive up to Snowbird Mountain Lodge, we stopped at Stekoah Gap to take a little walk in the woods. This is one of our favorite spots to bird and check out the wildflowers in the Spring, but we'd never been here in December until today. Although it was 54 degrees, the wind was howling and we both were glad that we had our heavy jackets along. We walked for about an hour, admiring the silver-grey trunks of the trees and the dried blooms of summer flowers. Just as we were returning to the parking area, we spied a young man coming off of the Appalachian Trail, and then a young lady. We struck up a conversation with them, and they told us that they were looking for some shelter out of the wind and spitting rain, which had just begun. We offered them a ride down into the next town of Robbinsville, and they eagerly accepted. They will spend the night there, get a ride back up to the AT when the weather improves and then strike out to FINISH their hike all the way from Mt. Katahdin in Maine. They both began in June, and had nothing but wonderful things to say about their long walk. We enjoyed talking to them both and were sad when we reached town and dropped them off. If you would like to check out her blog, you can do so here.

We drove the last 11 miles of curvy mountain road up to Snowbird chatting about Appalachian Trail hikers, their stamina, their guts, and how it changes their lives forever. I so admire them all. We were greeted at the lodge by this site:

Doesn't it look festive!! We've been coming here for at least 25 years now, but never at Christmas time. What a treat! Our friends who bird and hike with us in April will enjoy these pictures.

Here's the Great Room all spiffed up:

And here are a few of the cute ornaments on the Christmas tree outside the front door:

It's time to go have some dinner, so toodle-ooooooooo!



Gerrie said...

I love that place. I love the Smokies. I used to have a dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. One of Steph's friends did it before she got married. Some people do it in stages which might work for me. I have hiked some on the New England leg. Have a good time, you love birds!

Karoda said...

Happy Anniversary! Enjoy your getaway! (or does that really need to be said) ;0

joyce said...

Happy Anniversary. What a beautiful place to celebrate it. Bill Bryson has written an interesting book about the Appalachian trail. Since I read it I've wanted to walk on it but probably not all the way. We live near the Trans-Canada trail but a lot of it is across the prairies so not as interesting to us who live on the prairies.