That night we had the pleasant (note the sarcasm) surprise of getting woken up around 3:00 in the morning with the loud beeping of the smoke alarm in our room. Eventually Nathan just ended up removing the battery. So we slept for a little while longer and then decided to get ourselves out on the trail again. It was a beautiful morning. Nice and cool. But bright and sunny.
One of the nice things about these trails is that you never know what might be just around the bend. Like a pretty little brook flowing down the mountain,
Or a hidden rustic cabin,
Or an amazing view,
Or a crazy high cliff,
Or more deer grazing in the forest.
Every second felt like adventure. Well the first few miles anyway. Then you start to get tired. Luckily our second day of hiking was only 7.7 miles. Did I just say only??? Hiking the Appalachian trail is definitely a once in a lifetime experience – because I only plan on doing it ONCE in my lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is lots of hiking in our future, but never that far again.
Anyway, because of our early start and the shorter hike, we make it to the second lodge, Skyland Ranch, in time for a late lunch. Then we headed down to the stables for a little horse ride.
Meet Midnight and Lightnin. Our two best friends for the next hour. I have to admit, I thinking going through the forest is a lot better on horseback than on my own two feet :)
Upon arriving back at the stables, we were greeted with this guy.
I was literally only standing about 25 feet away from him and snapping pictures. It was crazy. The girls at the stable called him Patches and said that he is a pretty frequent visitor there. Wild.
Then, I let Nathan talk me into doing yet ANOTHER hike down to a waterfall.
It was truly beautiful though, and completely worth it.
“It was worth it” pretty much became my catch phrase for most of this trip. I had to tell myself something to keep on pushing myself so hard!!! On the way back up the mountain, I asked Nathan to stop and take this picture of me,
not because I really wanted a picture of myself, but I was tired of asking him to stop and give me a breather, so I had to come up with some other excuse to stop and sit down for a minute. Sshhhh…don’t tell Nathan!
After such an exciting afternoon, it was nice to have a lovely dinner with this as our view.
Then we decided to check out the nightlife at the lodge. The lodge has live entertainment every night. That night, a old fashioned string band was playing.
They were good times. They played all kinds of local old-time mountain music. It was the perfect end to the night, to sit back and eat some desserts,
and enjoy their music.