We woke up to another wonderful breakfast prepared by Vicky - home fries and sausage and fried eggs on baked onions, with fresh strawberries and yogurt. There was also bagels and jams. Yum!
We watched the weather and the high today would be 51 but with 40 mph winds, and a chance of snow at the higher elevations - and we had a mountain to cross. We looked outside as we were packing up and these was slowly being covered in snow and it was blowing hard.
We were trying to decide if we should hike at all, but Vicky said if the weather turned too bad she could pick us up at a road crossing, and she also made the offer of letting us rent her chalet down the road for a night if we needed it, because she had guests arriving at the inn today.
We decided to slack pack for the day. We had run into other hikers who were doing this, but we had not had the chance yet. Slack packing was just hiking without your full pack.
We also noticed that Vicky's bird feeder on her deck had been totally bent over the deck during the night. She said she had a bit of a bear problem!
We took a small daypack, took the bare essentials, and headed out. Vicky would just wait to hear from us to know where to pick us up.
We did not need the rain gear for long, as the snow stopped. The scenery was gorgeous, an area called Laurel Fork Gorge. There was a beautiful stream, beautiful bridges, and awesome Laurel Falls. At the top of the mountain it began snowing again. We found a small snowman built. Y a previous hiker, and a message written in the snow that said - "Happy hiking - Peeper". We hadn't met Peeper yet, but had seen the tra name in the shelter logs. Must be a pretty nice person to leave us a snowman and message!
We also saw blooming rhododendrons finally, and flame azaleas in bloom. Even though it was snowing, spring was making itself known.
We decided that we were not that much Easter without the full packs, but that our feet and backs were really getting a break.
We hiked around a beautiful mountain lake, Lake Watauga, and it's dam, and soon it was time for Vicky to pick us up again. She let us know that the Lone Star Steakhouse was just 5 minutes away, and that's how we ended our day - almost.
The chalet has a hot tub under the stars!!!
- Steady and F100