Rainy Blue Ridge (08/10/03)

Last updated 8/11/03                                                                                                                                     Russian Translation Here           

Our last day on the Blue Ridge Parkway wouldn't have been the last one if not for the rain. We planned on driving to Mile 0 at the north end of Blue Ridge and continuing on for another 120 miles on the Skyline Drive in Shenandoa National Park, but driving in pouring rain, getting wet at rest stops, and finally doing a hike in the rain convinced us otherwise. We did reach Mile Zero marker, but then turned off onto an interstate towards Washington, DC... well, at least we went the entire length of the Parkway, rain or no rain.

And no, we are not stupid (or adventurous) enough to start a hike in the rain. When we got to the trailhead, the day was a bit overcast but didn't seem to promise a high likelyhood of rain. Of course experience told us that microclimates along Blue Ridge are quite diverse, and the weather can change any minute; you could be driving in such heavy downpoor that the center line on the road becomes invisible if you speed to 15 mph, and five minutes later you can end up on a perfectly dry surface with the sun shining happily and your car the only dripping vehicle on the road. Still, we figured the weather was good enough to attempt a nice 5-mile roundtrip hike. The trail headed into the woods and then steeply up onto a mountain where we had to climb through very rocky areas with tons of medium-sized boulders and small pebbles all over the path. I think we must have reached the summit because after a mile's ascent the trail sort of ended in a clearing and we turned around. That's when the rain started. We ignored it at first as a minor nuisance, but as it was picking up, I reached for the rain ponchos -- just in time! We got them on right as the drizzle was turning into a full-on shower. Wearing these trashbag-like contraptions with holes for arms and a hood, we hiked back down the mountain and to the parking lot, where the rain promptly stopped.

On a rainy day like this, what can be better than staying at a friendly bed-and-breakfast inn with hospitable owners who cook up awesome German pancakes with home-grown peaches? We had a great time at the Dutch Haus Geselligkeit, an inn decorated with both German cuckoo clocks and Dutch windmills, wooden shoes and other wonderfully quaint parafernalia. Apparently, some foreign visitors take offense at this mix of German and Dutch traditions, but I for one found it to be highly pleasing to the eye. The place is beautifully set in the woods and boasts its own fruit trees and numerous visiting hummingbirds who hang out in dozens on the veranda feeding on sugar water. Even more attractive than the setting are the people, both innkeepers and guests that we had the good luck to meet and talk with at the breakfast table; we got farewell hugs which is something you don't normally expect when departing, say, a motel. Long live Dutch Haus Geselligkeit!


Dutch Haus Geselligkeit B&B       On the front porch       On the swing       At the Dutch Haus Geselligkeit -- great place to be!

Hiking a stony path in the rain       I don't want to look like a gnome       The alpha Mehra is leading the way       Dancing in the rain       Our rainy day hike.