Ship’s Log–April 14th-17th

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Sorry for the sudden gap in activity here! Vacation took priority, and I just couldn’t tear myself away from the fun long enough to blog about it. When last we met I was in Lexington Virginia, yes? The next day I pretty much stopped tracking my food in any sort of detail and just focused on having fun.

I can tell you that I ate a lot of things that are far from my normal diet. In Tennessee I had a cheesy pizza, french fries, handmade fudge, and beer battered fried pickle chips, among other decidedly not-vegan foods. In Shenandoah National Park I had to try the locally sourced cheese plate, the mountain-top veggie and cheese omelet, cheesy grits, and a whole bunch of desserts (blackberry ice cream pie, lemon curd tart, and a chocolate ganache cake with chocolate ice cream).

As for activities, well, those were amazing–

April 13th:

  • 6 hours of driving along I-81 through Virginia and Tennessee.
  • 1 hour horseback ride in Great Smoky Mountain National Park from the Sugarlands Stable
  • 30 minute nature hike near the Sugarlands Visitor Center

April 14th, it rained:

  • Cades Cove motor tour. I got to see a pileated woodpecker up close, which was thrilling. Those guys are HUGE.
  • Walk through downtown Gatlinberg. Lunch at a brew pub, where The Hub and I shared a beer flight (54 ounces total), after which we hit the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler to sample moonshine
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which looked like someone plunked a piece of Ireland down in the middle of Tennessee

April 15th:

  • Drive 6+ hours to Shenandoah National Park, with a stop for lunch back in Lexington.
  • It was raining when we went through the park entrance, extremely foggy along Skyline Drive, blocking the famous views, and then sleeting heavily by the time we reached Skyland Resort, where we were staying.
  • Spent the evening snowed in at the resort, having a huge, slow dinner with a bottle of local wine and watching the clog dancers

April 16th:

  • Shenandoah National Park was ice-covered and snow-dusted when we woke up. It was also stunning.
  • We drove back along Skyline Drive in the morning to see the views that had been obscured the day before.
  • 1.8 mile Story of the Forest nature hike at Big Meadow Visitor Center
  • 1.5 mile steep hike down and back to Dark Hollow Falls. We got to hear a barred owl hooting while we were on this hike, which was awesome!
  • 1.5 mile not-so-steep hike to the stunning Stony Man Summit (photo above), part of the trail running along the famous Appalachian Trail
  • Watched sunset over the Shenandoah Valley from the deck off our room.

April 17th:

  • After a too-hearty breakfast, we took a short walk along the ADA accessible Limberlost Trail
  • We drove out of the park to the north, spotting some hawks and a ruffed grouse along the way
  • We stopped off to tour Luray Caverns, before getting on the Interstate and heading home

Tomorrow I’ll return to my regular schedule of training and trying to eat healthily, but for now I’m going to mix myself a Blackberry Moonshine and soda and rest my aching feet.

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