Ice Storm 2, March 2
Mother Nature seemed intent on testing Southwest Virginia in '94. The first ice storm had partially paralyzed things for a few days, but we residents were OK with the ice. It's easier to deal with than the brutal cold snaps of single digit nights and highs in the teens for days on end. Folks from Montana or Maine may scratch their heads, but here in the South, such low temps shatter trees with reports like gun shots and burn out heat pumps. Inhaling air that freezes the back of the throat isn't 'normal'. Snow and ice -- we can handle more readily.
So we received a second dose of more than an inch of ice only a few weeks after the first one. As long as the plumbing hasn't frozen or the heat's gone off, nature's frozen fury is delightful to witness.
In those six weeks, I had been reading a half-dozen books from our local enthusiastic Blue Ridge Outdoors outfitter on thru-hiking. I had collected the articles of a local journalist named Melissa who chronicled her hike with her dog 'Order' in the Roanoke Times. And as luck would have it, Bob, one of my colleagues in our department's pilot plant, had thru-hiked in the late '80s. I felt I had some inkling of what was to come.