[ 11:29 sunday 7 september – skyland lodge, blue ridge mountains, virginia ]
yesterday afternoon i flew into washington in the remnants of tropical storm hannah. the last half hour of the flight was excitingly bumpy and when we landed at dulles rain and wind were lashing the tarmac. i rented a car right away and drove west into the blue ridge mountains, which kaz had recommended as an escape from washington. as i rose higher wraiths of clouds were forming and swirling mysteriously around trees in the strong wind. several times i stopped to watch and take photographs.
there are two lodges in the hundred-mile stretch of mountains where tourists can stay. after looking on the internet last night i booked a room here at skyland lodge. the building was constructed in the early twentieth century from stone and wood on a plateau a thousand metres up in the mountains beside stony man hill, the second highest peak in the range. when i arrived everything was bathed in cloud. i checked in then straight away hiked up to the peak of stony man hill. the view from there was magical, with an apocalyptic black mass of storm clouds overheads, glimpses of the shenandoah valley spreading out in the twighlight to the west and twists of cloud swirling over me.
overnight the storm played itself out and i woke this morning to clear blue sky, birdsong and the sun filtering through the trees outside my room. now i’m driving to the northern end of the chain for a six mile hike. time permitting i’ll do another hike after lunch. i’m hoping to see deer, bears and turkey vultures amongst other beasts. the whole range is covered by the shenandoah national park so the habitat is relatively pristine. this evening i’ll drive back to dulles and check into the hyatt ready for my presentation at the network roundtable tomorrow afternoon.
: c :