Last year it was seventy degrees on Thanksgiving day. Gary and I spent three days hiking the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park and had a wonderful dinner in the dining room at Skyland Lodge. That was my plan for this year also. Mother Nature had a different plan.
Early on Thanksgiving Day we drove to Shenandoah, anticipating a hike before dinner only to be stopped at the entrance. Skyline Drive closed due to ice and snow!
The ranger at the gate had no idea when, or if, it would reopen but suggested we go down to Luray to wait and see. Luray wasn't participating in any pre-Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving because everything, including fast food and gas stations in this three block town was closed. We finely found a small cafe called Uncle Bucks serving turkey dinners– at 10:30 in the morning! You had to buy dinner even to get a cup of coffee. What?
We drove around and called the Road Conditions phone number. And drove around some more. And finely found the Luray Caverns gift shop and snack bar open and got a cup of soup for lunch. I had visions of my Thanksgiving dinner being eaten at McDonalds on I-95 on the drive home!
We decided to drive back up the mountain and encountered a line of cars at the entrance, Skyline Drive had just opened!
It looks as though many people have cancelled their room reservations because its very quiet. It's too cold at about 25 degrees to sit on our tiny porch and enjoy this beautiful view across the Shandoah valley, with the Massanutten Range in the distance and too late for a hike. But Thanksgiving dinner is delicious and looking out of Skyland Lodge windows at the lights far down below is magic
The Nor'Easter storm has glazed the high elevation Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah with a coating of ice and snow, so no additional trail miles hiked this trip. Instead Gary and I stop at Mannassas Battlefield Park on the drive home to stretch our legs. We've always had a tradition of a walk on Friday after Thanksgiving, usually with a turkey sandwich picnic. The kids used to call it “Mom's Forced March.” I far prefer to be outside than in the mall. Even when Mother Nature changes my best laid plans.