Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Frozen Floridians and Accidental Magic: Part 2

"This is not what it looks like..."
Yup, those were the words I said to a complete stranger that came up to me alone on the Appalachian Trail, sitting there with my pants down...in 30 degree weather.

We had a long eventful drive to North Carolina on a Wednesday afternoon, and as we drove north, the weather progressively got worse, the little sprinkles of rain progressively came down until the windshield wipers were going constantly and I started naming off other fun things we could do in the mountains besides backpacking in freezing cold rain. I offered a trip to the mall, movies, or perhaps even driving back south of all of this stuff.
Paul would have none of this. "We're going to sleep in the woods" I kept hearing him mutter under his breath. For some strange reason this day was starting to get really long and dark and we were heading to a spot where there were few hotels. We needed a hotel to get one good night's sleep (for me anyway) and then a big breakfast before the shuttle driver picked us up and dropped us off at the trail. I was debating at what point a smart person might say, "I'll just stay in the hotel and wait for you guys". I just never quite got there. The night almost came to an early end when I pulled up the driveway to the mountain top hotel and found it was on a winding road that had no guardrail. The night was pitch dark and still raining, not a star or moon to be found. It wasn't until the next morning that I saw just how scary that little road was in the daylight.

The hotel was a really nice clean place, that was packed full of construction workers, many of whom we saw the next day, out driving bulldozers and holding flags in the road repair areas on the freeway. There were so many burly men in bright orange vests and boots that when you heard a woman's voice, all heads turned in unison. There was supposed to be some kind of continental breakfast, but we had better plans. There was an IHOP only a mile down the road and even Paul wanted to go there...although I think the reason he wanted to go was to find out if they had 100% real maple syrup.

We all slept pretty bad that night. I was worrying about the weather, Paul and Chase were chomping at the bit to get out in the woods. In the morning, I took a quick run outside to check the weather in the dark, and ran back in to put on every single piece of clothing I had. Paul was clucking at me, saying that I would be stripping all those clothes off 10 minutes after we started hiking. "Ha!" I said. "You only wished you were smart enough to bring your UnderArmour Compression Longjohns with you!"

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