Surviving the night on handfuls of gorp and with the aid of my amazingly versatile new light saber (more of a light dagger actually), we broke camp and headed back down the mountain to where we had left the car the day before. The temperature had risen a bit during the night, so a thaw was on. While enjoying a cup of coffee a lone X-country skiing slid past our camp – she had been on the mountain alone the night before and had a difficult day ahead of her in the slushy snow; not sure how far she had to go, but she had a large pack. Made me think how heavy my pack would end up if I ever decided to go long-distance solo. Hmmm…and whether or not my failing knees could take it. About a mile down, the extent of the thaw quickly became apparent and spirits lifted as the sun came out to warm our descent.
Most of the snow on the road had already melted within abut a half mile of the car, so there was no real problem at all making it back down to the valley. However, we still had three free days and needed to figure out exactly where we wanted to spend them. Sobin relentlessly harped on the point that ‘we should’ve headed to North Carlonia’ as originally planned. Ah well, as the poet said, ‘the best laid plans…’ (Ours, however, we not exactly laid well, let alone in competition for the best laid.) Of course the world famous Smoke Caverns were just a few miles down the road, but I could garner no support for the side-trip, despite the added attraction of West Virginia’s largest souvenir shop AND FOOD!
Ah yes, food. Stopping at the Little Mountain General store (it may have been he 'FOR ALE' sign outside that worked on my subconsciousness and made me pull in) for a “cheese-burgar” [sic] and a cup of coffee, we sat at the food counter, chatted a bit with some locals trying to devise a new plan for continuing the trek, and speculated on how odd, or rather I should say unique, this Spring Break trip might appear to mot people (boring people). But the ‘burgars’ proved tasty, the locals somewhat taciturn, but friendly and helpful, and the Potomac Valley, though not yet touched with the breath of spring, still looked quite lovely in the mid-day sun; the snows of Dolly Sods behind us, we headed 30 miles north to Wardensville to make our way up to the Tuscarora Trail. [To be continued – please feel free to add your thoughts here Sobes.]