Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Blue Ridge Mountains Adventure - Day 2

Technically, my day started at 3am when I rolled over to check my phone to see how badly Joe Biden had lost the election. Shira was awake doing the same, and gave me the quick update: Joe had lost Florida, but there were a number of states that were too close to call. I took some comfort in knowing that the race wasn't over and tried to go back to bed.

Over breakfast, we continued to be glued to election coverage. During one of CNN's panel discussions, the obviously leaning Democrat explained that despite the overwhelmingly red map, the Biden team was optimistic. More surprisingly, the Republican guest didn't argue this point, but instead emphasized the record turn-out and victories in the House and Senate. Might Biden actually win this? After last night, I wasn't sure of anything.

Mostly, I was happy that once again we had a day planned in the woods and I'd have my phone in Airplane Mode. This meant I could finally tune out the endless stream of meaningless, yet tantalizing, Key Race Alerts that CNN was issuing every few minutes. Damn you Blitzer. You get me. Every. Single. Time.

Today we planned to cover the 9+ mile Torry Ridge - Lower Shernado Lake - White Gap Trail. The hike promised views, a waterfall and a picturesque lake. Perhaps it was the stellar weather, but I have to say, the hike delivered. The hike up to, and down from Torry Ridge was challenging and made more so by the at-times slippery leaf cover. But thanks to the now leafless trees, we had amazing views from the ridge. The waterfall at White Gap Creek was in impressive form, and served as one of a number of interesting stream crossings we'd make during the day.

We saw almost no wildlife during the hike. But thanks to Shira's keen eyes, we did have an encounter with one remarkable creature: a Phasmid, more commonly known as a walking stick insect. It was kind enough to pose for me as I captured pics. Even a few inches away from it, it looked more stick-like than insect-like. This guy was truly a natural wonder.

After 6.5 hours of hiking, we arrived at our car as the sun was setting. From there we headed to a brewery for more pub-food. This time I enjoyed hot apple cider without booze and some of the best fried pickles I'd ever had the privilege to eat. Back at our condo, we tuned back into election coverage, and like the rest of the nation, watched the equivalent of paint drying as we waited for ballots to be counted.

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