Day 49. Today was a great, leisurely Nero Day. It was only 7.5 miles to a Hostel in Pearisburg from last night’s shelter, and I contemplated skipping it because of my impromptu stay at one a couple days ago, but breakfast quickly changed my mind.
As I ate my morning pop-tart, I noticed a magazine was placed in the shelter and opened it to read. It was a 2010 edition of AT Journal with a feature article on Woods Hole Hostel, that recently came under new management. I’ll let you read it for yourself at the link above, as it’s a beautiful story and easily convinced me that this historic AT landmark up ahead was too good to pass up.
It was a beautiful day, and I took my sweet time hiking those 7.5 miles to really absorb it. I stopped at every creek, I visited every side trail and vista, I took numerous photos and videos, I walked a slow 2 mph, and I soaked in the sun. If I had the time, patience and finances to hike this trail in 9 months, I’d do every day like this.
When I finally came to the Sugar Run Road intersection, I turned right and hiked the half mile down to the scenic cabin on a farm. I’ve stayed at some great hostels, but this one may top them all. When you walk in, the animals literally come out to greet you and welcome you in … Dogs, cats, goats, and even a goofy looking pig. They all came to say hello.
Then you see an immaculate log cabin home, a large garden, a hiker bunkhouse, platform tents and more. Everything is clean and open and ready to be shared, and everything is decorated with cute and friendly painted information/instruction signs.
One of the best things about this hostel is how it is an instant community of helping hands. I saw 3 thruhikers setting up the platform tents, another folding laundry, and 2 more preparing lunch. You just feel at home here and want to be a part of it. No one was doing a “work for free stay” … they were just helping out. An optional “job jar” is in the bunkhouse with suggested chores to take on if you feel willing.
The owner, Neville, is a wonderful and spiritual person as well, which feeds the peaceful culture here. She leads yoga in the afternoons, meditation at night, and gives licensed massages in between. A neighbor will drive you into town for resupply, the staff welcome you with fruit smoothies, homemade cookies and cold sodas, and there are countless games and activities to do while you unwind. I mean, doesn’t this sound amazing?? Am I thruhiking or at a spa retreat?
I grabbed my resupply box that was mailed here, then picked up a guitar and played music by the fire pit in the sun. It was the rest for body and soul I needed. After a while, I offered to help cook dinner and assisted in the kitchen to prepare our communal meal. Stir fry with beef and vegetables, salad, bread, egg salad, and more. All homemade and fresh, with most ingredients grown right here. Talk about farm to table!
When dinner was ready, Neville led everyone in a quick round of thanks and sat with us to talk about her life, her family, the world, and more. She is an amazing woman who runs this place all on her own (with some temporary support staff), continuing the great tradition her grandparents started 30+ years ago.
There are a lot of people here. My current hiking mates of Ridge, Autopilot and Dragon are all here, and a dozen more I mostly know. RTK is also here, so he and I had a chance to chat a bit more. Our passing on the trail a couple days ago was brief, so this time we got a better chance to get to know each other. I am not sure if we’ll meet again, but it’s been great connecting with him after so many email exchanges pre-trip.
I got in a few calls to family back home when the phone service cooperated and then called it a night. I’m headed out first thing after breakfast tomorrow, but feel completely revamped for another week on the trail.
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 617.6
- Start Time: 09:00
- End Mile: 624.8
- End Time: 12:10
- Miles Hiked: 7.2
- Miles to Go: 1566.1
- Lodging: Woods Hole Hostel