7/10/13 – Mad World

So we all got up ready for our hike… and it was raining. Hmmm, feels like home. So we had a little bit more time to get ready and go to breakfast instead. We quickly Skyped Mom in between, then went back to Cracker Barrel. This time I had pancakes with cherries and cream. They were so so good, but ridiculously huge and I could only finish two of the three. When we got back outside it had stopped raining, so we decided to go for our hike after all.

Our view of the mountains from Cracker Barrel – with our motel in the shot too!

Tanya and An opted out, but the rest of us were up for it. Since this was the first place that was actually cold we decided to rethink our outfits a little. I put a jumper and my cardy on and swapped my usual open-toe shoes for my Skechers and my Flash socks (ready to run up some hills. Not.)

Got a bit lost on the way to the recreation area, so we had more of a scenic tour first. The trail we’d originally decided to follow once we got there was called the ‘Salamander Meander’, but we must have veered away from it somewhere along the line because the trail we did then follow ended up being much longer and we eventually had to double back. There was a lot of uphill trekking as the trail led through the woods around the Appalachian Mountains, but it felt great and refreshing. If only we had areas like that in Birmingham – I’d feel more inclined to do it at home!

Me and Kel pretty much led the trek (think we must be more used to walking than everyone else). We saw several deer and a couple of chipmunks too! On the way back down a rogue, half-eaten apple bounced out of nowhere and hit Kel on the back of the leg. We were all confused as to where it had come from since there were no apple trees around (especially with it being half-eaten!) I said it was a poltergeist in the woods and Derek reckoned it was a squirrel with a sick sense of humour, but the culprit remained a mystery.

We’re going on a bear hunt!

We then collected the other girls and our bags and got back on the road again. Started off with more Tears For Fears, Elvis and some Keane. Lovely! Besides that the drive was long and uneventful, but I did get to watch some more Psych. We got to DC roughly six hours after we’d left, including the usual lunch stop and bathroom breaks. I started to feel a little mizz in the van – the end to our group tour is looming ridiculously close and I don’t want to have to leave our new friends! I’ve become quite attached to everyone, dammit.

Our hostel was a lot nicer than the one in Nashville. All us girls were in the same room this time, for a start. Each bed had its own cute little light and plug sockets. We didn’t have to make them ourselves either. Woohoo. Plus the toilets and showers were right opposite our room, so no trekking around the floor in tiny pyjamas. After we’d eaten we went on our own illumination tour. Derek drove us round to look at the main sites and we were able to get out and walk around some of them. Most of them were memorials, but we saw the Washington Monument too. Because of the government shut-down we won’t actually get to see much more of them during the day. Thanks America. Couldn’t you have done this before we got here?

Overall it was quite an uneventful day. We had our group showering session (they were only protected by curtains so we had to stand guard for each other) and I finally got the meet-up with Shae organised. Exciting times!

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