Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekend Report: SpeedyKate's Birthday in Shenandoah

Hooray for mini-vacations! I flew to DC on Friday afternoon and spent the long weekend in Shenandoah with SpeedyKate, Chris, John, Andy, (aka a solid chunk of the Ragnar Relay crew) and many many others. It was suggested that I live-blog the experience, but for a number of reasons, including my time/effort and of course potential for major embarrassment (not necessarily mine), I vetoed that idea and opted to wait until I was back in the cold comfort of Boston, procrastinating my Role of Force reading.


So! SpeedyKate is 30! Yay! Big birthdays are such a great excuse to do something awesome, so she rented a huge and beautiful house out in Shenandoah for three nights and invited all her friends for the weekend. I have no idea how many of us there were -- friends came and went, and some only stayed for a night, but a core group of champions stayed the whole time.

This is the houseI know, right!?! My friends do things right.
Our Saturday hike was to Big Schloss (lolz), just four miles round trip. We were there about two weeks too late to experience the perfect fall foliage, but it was sun-shiny and hiking-in-a-T-shirt warm, so I'm not complaining!

There was an excellent view at the top. To the horror and dismay of many, when I'm not climbing up rocks, I like sitting on them. Basically I love dangling my feel off edges. Don't worry guys, my butt is solidly connected to earth at almost all times!

Back at the house everyone paired up and took responsibility for meals -- enchiladas, barbecue, and jambalaya for dinners, plus an epic brunch of Texas-shaped savory waffles, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls on Sunday. We sat on the front steps, eating waffles and sipping coffee and looking out at this. Pretty perfect, right?

Everything smelled like campfire all weekend, thanks to the patio fire pit and a lot of wood to burn. I really enjoy it -- to me campfire smells like outside and warmth and staring into embers and relaxing and friends and fun. We sat around a lot (on the porch, by the fire, in the hot tub), talked a lot, played some games (Cards Against Humanity mostly), and just generally hung out. 

But this is an active group! So our Sunday hike, fueled by the aforementioned epic brunch, was a bit more ambitious. We hiked the Signal Knob/Elizabeth's Furnace loop (I've done this one before), minus the knob because we didn't want the sun to set on us in the woods. Oooh the downsides of the slow and inevitable approach to winter. (Who am I kidding? I'm not sad about winter, let's go skiing!) This hike is about 7-8 miles of rocky and hilly trails -- just enough focus required to make it interesting, and long enough to accommodate many conversations and daydreams.

We packed up and headed back to DC on Monday. Overall the weekend was an epic success. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPEEDYKATE!