Summer Vacation: Day 3 and 4 of a 4 Day Break

 When we last left our vacation it was a rainy Sunday night.  It kept raining into early Monday morning...loudly.  I was kind of disappointed. However we had another lovely breakfast took our time eating and sipping our coffee.  (All the servers know that they need to leave the pot on the table)  Again there was a big birthday bash.  This time a woman turning 90.  One of her family took her to the buffet (which was in another room) and while she was gone, everyone (including an infant) changed into birthday t-shirts and hats.  It was really kind of cute and I asked my son to do something like that for my 90th.  (He refused...rotten kid)

After we were done with breakfast my son James decided he was going to hike up to Indian Ladder Falls as the rain was starting to let us.  I decided to go out on Dutch Hill Road in the opposite direction in which I had gone the day before (toward route 390). I past the new wildflower area (still in development) and decided that it was about time I climbed up the steep hill/road that only has two houses on it.  (According to the map it is Heights Road)  It was pretty darned steep! 
 As I came down I messaged my son and asked him where he was.  He told me he had tried to go up the Trout Stream Trail but he couldn't because it was blocked off.   I headed that way and saw that little bridge that starts off the path was totally overrun with water!

I headed up 390 a little bit and met my son.  The two of us came back by Dutch Hill Road and the lake trail.  It was a nice walk but wet.  The sun had come out and the lake level was quite high.

 When we got to the road and started up the hill to the hotel it started to rain again!  I couldn’t believe it! The whole thing only lasted about five or so minutes but...

 Back at the Lodge the two of us went to the Corner Roast where I purchased a (unnecessary) water bottle (couldn't help myself) and an iced coffee for my son.  The two of us signed up for a guided hike around the upper falls trail.  Then he headed back to the pool and I walked back down to the Lakeview Inn.  When I dropped him off I thought after my walk I might visit the pool again too, but by the time I got back the once deserted area was overflowing!  So much for that! Instead I grabbed my Nook and plopped myself on the sun drenched porch and read.

 The upper falls trail hike was late in the afternoon; it would not leave us a lot of time for getting ready for dinner, but my son and I both wanted to do it.  There were two other families who went along.  One had three very young girls (under the age of 4) which surprised me as this was a moderate trail, but...We got pretty wet feet as much of the trail was waterlogged...


As soon as we returned to the lodge, we ran upstairs and quickly showered and got dressed for dinner. Amazingly, we managed to make it in plenty of time.  We were seated in the back of the dining room and for most of the time we were the only family there. 

At least until a huge party of over 25 came in!  

For our final dinner, I had the vegan Caesar salad again and the bacon crusted pork chop (Drool...bacon).  The guys both had the special which was steak and they both agreed it was excellent. There was no dessert set aside for me (boohoo no vegan brownie), but we did have our decaf coffees to wrap up the meal.

 After dinner I tried to pack up   Check out was at 11 the next morning and both my son and I wanted to do one more guided trail before we left.  That would mean we would need to be packed up before and my husband would stay behind and get us checked out and then wait for us.  Once I had everything put away that I possibly could, I  went out to the South porch and read.  It was a beautiful night.   At least until I started to get eaten alive by the bugs.

 The next day, the day we were to head home, was, of course a beautiful day.  (Isn't that always the way?).  We made sure we were pretty much all packed up before we headed down for our last delicious breakfast.  I made sure I didn't drink too much coffee because my son and I were going to go on the one of the most challenging guided hikes that morning:  the Stable Trail to the gazebo.  This was one I really wanted to do, but was anxious about.

 This hike was definitely one of the most difficult I had ever done and I was really glad that Rick, the resort naturalist, led it.  It also happened that one of the guests that morning was also a friend of his and had been on many hikes with Rick before and knew his stuff.  He (I'm sorry that I forgot to write his name down) ended up being a back up/secondary guide on our hike which was definitely needed.  As Rick plainly said, this is a hike where you need to put your phone away and focus.  He also said (and I was glad to hear this) that we would not go down the way we went up as is would be too treacherous. The trail, which was very steep and wet (as a result of all the rain) went zig zag up the mountain.  I had to bend down and grab rocks to make my way up and steady myself.  Rick has also installed some ropes tied to trees that you could (and I did) use as a guide.  The hike was made even more challenging by a large branch that had fallen across this path.  The first few of us climbed over it, but Rick's friend/assistant was able to push it off the path for the rest of our group.  (This was no easy task).

 As exhausting as the hike was, it was worth it for the views we got at the top.


We walked back down via an easier (but not easy) trail that followed the sky slope.  (Now that I know where it is, I will definitely follow it up and do the whole west rim trail...hopefully this fall!)  We ended up at the Adventure Center where we could take a van back to the hotel, but my son and I decided to do one last walk around the lake.

 Back at the lodge, we found my husband sitting by the fireplace.  We got our luggage out of storage and (sadly) headed home.

 I'd like to say the trip home was uneventful.  It was not.  Since it was lunchtime, I told my son we could stop at this little ice cream place that we always pass on the way.  It's small and in the middle of nowhere on route 447.  However, just as we got to the turn where 447 goes to the left and 191 is to the right (which is where we finally "lost" the Winnebago on our way up), we saw that the road was closed.  We had no choice but to go right on 191 and depend on Waze to find our way home.   This meant taking 191 to 715 until we finally got to Route 80 about 6 or so exits west of where we would have normally gotten on.  I have no idea how many miles out of our way that translated into...I'm guessing somewhere between 15 and 20, but...Of course when we tried to get onto 80, the highway was backed up due to an accident that was being cleared.  Luckily, it was not far from where we got on so once we inched our way in and got past, it was pretty much smooth sailing.


Despite the challenges of getting there and back AND the massive amount of rain, we still had a wonderful time at Skytop.  We laughed, relaxed, did things as a family, but still had the freedom to do our own things as well.  I'll admit it, I breathe easier tension melts away.    And that's something we all need!


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