The Virus Diary: Pandemic Getaway Wrap Up

After an evening of fireworks and sky watching (is it weird to say the moon was amazing while we were away at Skytop?) I had a good night's sleep and was ready to get up and start a great day.

 We had a wonderful breakfast the morning of July 6th.  Rachel was working that morning (as well as the evening) and she took great care of us.  Even after yesterday morning's slip up, I had no worries this morning.  I made sure I specially ordered and Rachel was on top of everything.  I had my fruit, English muffin and bacon (why it is better at Skytop?  Seriously...when I make it at home its okay, but there it's fantastic.) The whole family shared a pot of coffee.  The crowds were dying down (now that the weekend and festivities were over) and I was thinking of heading to the pool at some point during the day.

 After breakfast, I considered what I might want to do that day while sitting with my guys on...yes, the South Porch.  My son wanted to walk the lake, which he did.  I considered trying the Leavitt's Falls Trail.  I have been saying for years that I wanted to do this and let's face it I was annoyed by the fact that my son did it (alone!) and I hadn't.  I also know that this is a difficult trail.  So I made a deal with myself.  I was going to give it a go and if at ANY point I felt unsure or uneasy, I would turn back.  No shame.

 And that's exactly what I did.  I took my time; wore very sturdy sneakers and went.  There were a few places that were difficult, but Rick, the naturalist, had put up ropes to hold onto and guide you.  This gave me more confidence.  I also made sure to take my time.  

 I followed the trail signs and markings.  When I got to a place where you could go to the basin or you could go to continue on the trail towards the lemon squeeze, I continued on the trail.  When I got to the most challenging part, I saw that there was an alternative loop around.  Based on what my son said, there would be some rock climbing to get through the squeeze, so I decided to take the alternate loop.  That was relatively easy, and it took me up/back to the golf course and to paved road, but I couldn't figure out exactly which way to go.  (This is where I think there should have been more markings), but I eventually figured out that if I went right and past some houses, that I was in the right place.  As a matter of fact, I had looped back pretty much to where I had started.  Now what?  I decided to do the trail again, this time checking out the basin.  Only I was so cocky this time and moving quickly, that I missed the sign for the turn off and was almost to the alternate loop when I realized my mistake and backtracked.  I checked out the basin and then went back, did the loop and headed back to the lodge feeling good and accomplished.

I walked/hiked for about two hours, so the first thing I did when I got back to the Lodge was go get a drink.  Then I went back to the room and (shamefully) opened up my laptop and checked in at work.  (Don't bother to roll your was the end of the quarter and half and I felt I needed to check in and answer any questions that might have popped up.)

Cooler, I decided to put on a bathing suit (with an appropriate cover up) and head to the pool.  I figured it wouldn't be as busy as it was a Monday.  Meanwhile, my son who had walked the lake in the morning decided he would take his camera up to Indian Ladder Falls.  (What I didn't know at the time was that he planned on doing the Waterfall Ramble to get to the top of the falls!)

I got in line for the 1 PM "session" at the pool (each "session was 90 minutes; then there was 30 minute period where the staff would clean before the next session began.  Makes sense and more importantly is SAFE.)  There were only a few people in line ahead of me.  The woman at the makeshift "desk"/station was checking people in (taking room number, number of people in the group) and explaining how the process worked and handing out towels.  Once I was in, I found a chair and sat down.  Moments later, I felt a drop.  Yes, it was starting to rain!  I went and sat at the edge of the pool and dipped my feet in.  That was about as far as I got as it started to rain harder.  I moved inside.  The indoor pool was not yet useable, but you could go in the Jacuzzi.  (Although I thought it was too hot for that).  I thought I would sit back, relax and wait for the rain to pass.

However, there was a clap of thunder and that was the end of that.  When there is lightning and thunder they have to close down the pool area.  So I packed up and headed to the South Porch.  I was reading there, when I realized that my son was still out by Indian Ladder Falls!  Trying not panic, I texted him and asked if he was back.  He said he was on his way...

Well he was quite a distance away and of course there was no way to drive to get him and me walking to try and get him wasn't a great option.  So I went to the North Porch and waited...and waited...I tried to follow him on the tracking app.  I watched him get closer, but he was so far away!  After waiting on the North porch for what seemed like an eternity, I thought maybe he would go around the back way and waited on the South porch.  Somehow he made it back and I missed him!

He dried off in the room.  I changed back into clothes in the room.  It kept raining.  The three of us (my husband had been in the room the whole time) basically hung out together until the rain FINALLY stopped.  By that time it was tea and cookie time!  My son went down to enjoy some and I did some more walking; this time heading down to the Butterfly House.  (Tours are given, but I didn't want to necessarily go in...just check out the area)

Not the best photo, but caught a momma bird feeding her young.

I headed back to the Lodge, but still had some time before getting ready for dinner.  So I headed up to the Observation Deck and was treated to some of the most interesting clouds I have ever seen.

I also spotted my son going for a walk

And then it was time to get dressed and ready for our final dinner.  It was difficult making a decision as to what to eat.  I hadn't get had the salmon for my main course, so that's what I went for.  Both the boys went for the filet mignon again.  As always everything was delicious.  And since it was a Monday night, the dining room was peaceful.
My son and the incredible Rachel

Since the weather was still iffy, only my son went wandering after dinner. I did sit on the South Porch (surprise) for a while, but it was a bit chilly, so I didn't stay too long.  Instead I went upstairs and started packing up for our trip home the next day.

Tuesday morning was also overcast.  We had breakfast and were pleasantly surprised to see Rachel, who wasn't supposed to be working but...She really made my morning more relaxing as I knew I could rely on her to keep me "safe" as I dined.

After breakfast, I did a final walk around.  The resort was pretty empty.  I wandered downstairs as I wanted to pick up something at the gift shop, but I was too early.  So I walked throughout the lower level, through the "new" wing and out and around the building.  I headed down to the Lakeview for one last look around.   Then I (sadly, reluctantly) headed back to the lodge.  I was hoping to see Jeff before we left and let him know what a wonderful time we had and how much I appreciated all that he and his staff had done.  He was not in his office, but I did get to chat with his admin for quite a while.  As I headed back upstairs to the Pine Room, I did find him and got to say what I wanted.  As I was headed to the gift shop, he walked with me and when I told him how impressed I was with the pool staff, he actually took me to the office area where some of the staff were and had me repeat what I had told him.  And that was that during an unprecedented and difficult time, they had done an incredible job.  I realized that they probably did not get the accolades that they deserved and that I hoped that my honest appreciation would be somewhat helpful.  (And I think it was.)

Then it was time to check out and head home.  All good things must come to an end and Skytop had definitely been an incredibly bright spot in a very dark and stressful time.  The highest praise that I can give the resort and the caring group of people who work there is that while my family and I were there we were relaxed.  We were comfortable.  And while we were (and are) aware of the pandemic that still plagues our world, Skytop gave us a much needed respite from it.  For that I can only say thank you and hope and wish that all stay safe and stay well.


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