Day 33 – IAT Mile 566.1 to 591.8

Meeting and having beers with locals is always such a great time.  Our stay at the Coloma Hotel & Pub would not have been complete without having a couple beers in the pub part of the hotel.  Dennis and Sue have owned the hotel since the 90s, something of a retirement gift to themselves?  They bought it, completely gutted it and remodeled the entire thing; it took about 5 years to complete.  I’ll share a picture I took with some background info on the hotel.

I’m not sure how it came up, but a factoid I learned from Dennis and Sue that I shall not soon forget is about margarine in Wisconsin.  Did you know that until about the 50s or 60s it was illegal to have margarine in Wisconsin?  They recounted stories of how their families would smuggle in the contraband.

The Coloma Hotel & Pub is a beautiful establishment, more of a B&B feel than a hotel.  I was half expecting it to have a shared bathroom space like a lot of B&Bs do, but that was not the case. We had a single queen room with a mini-fridge, coffee, TV w/satellite (we fell asleep to Harry Potter) and a bathroom all to ourselves.  I think it was $59 a night, which is basically unheard of these days.  Thank you, Dennis & Sue!

Weather was kind to us this morning in that we were able to hike to first 8 miles before the rain started.  We skirted the dark red edges of the first couple storm fronts, allowing us to put more miles in than any other morning before; the missed miles from yesterday were fully hiked by 0930. There was also motivation in knowing that Sunsets & Chicka were bringing us Subway footlongs around 12:30pm.  No matter how bad things got, we would have friends, food and a roof for lunch.

Meeting Sunsets & Chicka, the other couple hiking the IAT that we have been chatting with, was awesome!  They have a few thru-hikes under their belt and knew exactly the things to brighten our day.  The sub and cookie were great, cold soda a bonus, but my favorite part was just getting a chance to talk and connect with them.  Their story is so interesting, hiking the AT and then setting up a hiker hostel with all of their favorite hostel amenities.  I wish we had more time, I think we would be great friends.  Thank you, Sunsets & Chicka! We know how valuable zero day time is and we enjoyed every moment :-).

Our feet were afloat with happiness after lunch.  The rain had stopped during lunch and didn’t begin to fall again for a bit after we parted ways with our new friends.  Rain is your ally, until is not.  Rain kept us cool and the humidity low.  It gave us motivation to break less and walk faster.  Yes, how I love rain… until the clouds get dark and the lightning pops closer and closer.  Until the downpour becomes fierce and the wind whips harder than the umbrella can physically with stand and has to be put away.  Brianna and I have awesome rain gear, zpack rain skirts and vertice rain jackets.  None of that matters when the rain comes in diagonally at your face, we got thumped for the last mile.

One of the amazing parts about putting yourself at the mercy of Mother Nature and her wrath is how it changes what your mind sees in the world around it.  Every tree becomes a potential friend, a potential enemy, something that should not be ignored.  Stay away from roads with fields on both sides, don’t be the tallest object in the area.  Take shelter near trees, not too small, definitely not too large, check above for widow makers.  Always count the distance between lightning and thunder.  Trust your gut.  Trust her gut.  You can make it through this.

We did make it through.  Time for sleep.  Another weather filled day is coming our way tomorrow, yay!