Day 66- 5.26.15
Fancy Pants: Hiked 16.1 miles today (594.7-610.8). We left the campsite around 8:30 and had a pretty easy hike down the ridge. We saw some great views from the next ridge, including some rain clouds heading towards us. We picked up our pace, hoping to get to the next shelter or somewhere we could get out of the rain. It started pouring as we hurried down the mountain. It was raining so hard that we were laughing while we were hiking. After a half hour or so of heavy rain, we weren’t laughing anymore since the storm showed no sign of letting up anytime soon. The rain came so fast that there was a stream of water running down the trail. This was also our first experience hiking in the rain with our new non-waterproof shoes. Pretty soggy. The only nice thing about wet shoes is that once they’re wet, you can stomp through all the water on the trail because you’re already soaked.
We passed the 600 mile mark! We hiked until we reached a nice campsite near a creek and started to set up camp. It was only 3 o’clock, but once you’re tired of being wet, it doesn’t really matter what time it is.
After we got into the tent and dried off, we waited for the rain to stop. We started a fire- no small feat when everything is soaking wet! Camped with Wolf, Oak, Acorn, The Aristocrats, Backtrack, Iron Jen and Muskrat. We were outnumbered by Germans until the Aristocrats came!
Day 67- 5.27.15
Hiked 13 miles today (610.8-623.8). The first six miles today were relatively flat, so we kept a pretty quick pace. Then we had a climb that didn’t have any water sources, so we had to carry extra water with us. From the ridge, we saw some views of the valley below. We got off the trail and headed down the road to the hostel.
Woods Hole Hostel is a farm that concentrates on sustainable living. They grow a lot of their own food and raise cows, pigs and goats. The original building is a log cabin built in 1880. They added an addition to the cabin to form the main house and also built a log cabin bunkhouse and shower building. You can buy homemade bread, cheese and smoothies and can also buy dinner and breakfast there. Neville also led a yoga session in the yard that afternoon. There were about 30 hikers there that opted to have dinner. Before dinner, we all stood in a circle, introduced ourselves, said where we lived and also said something we were thankful for. It was nice to take a moment and connect with our fellow hikers. Dinner was homemade bread, salad, meatballs (or a veggie-filled sauce), pasta, brown rice and homemade pesto. We each had a small cone of homemade ice cream for dessert. I could get used to this kind of food on the trail!
We opted to stay in a room in the house. Our room ended up being a loft in the old cabin. Downstairs was a sitting room and a dining table, so we essentially had the entire old cabin to ourselves. Needless to say, we slept like babies 🙂
Day 68- 5.28.15
Fancy Pants: Hiked 11.1 miles today (623.8-634.9). Woke up early today for yoga at 6:30, run by Iron Jen (Fuego enjoyed more sleep). Breakfast was served at 8. Still thoroughly impressed by their ability to feed 30 hikers at a time, including homemade bread! We were on the road to the trail at 9:15. We hiked up a ridge with views of the New River and Pearisburg below. We headed into Pearisburg to pick up a package at the Post Office. The walk from the trail to the Post Office was uphill in full sun. We were super sweaty! On the way, we passed a motel with a pool outside. It didn’t take much for us to decide to stay at the motel so we could jump in the pool! It was totally worth it! There were quite a few other hikers there that had also stayed at Woods Hole last night as well. After we went swimming, a huge storm rolled in, so we went to the room and then went to Food Lion to get a few more things.
We also saw the cutest puppy ever. It’s a Pomeranian Husky mix!
Day 69- 5.29.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 13.8 miles today (634.9-648.7). Checked out of the motel at 11 and Pooh Bear gave us a ride to the trailhead. We sat there for awhile and had lunch before hiking on. We crossed the New River then started climbing. It was pretty hot out, so we were thankful for the gentle switchbacks.
We left the shelter that was right along the Virginia/West Virginia border and it started to rain a bit. The rain wasn’t too bad, but walking through the overgrown brush along the trail made our pants and shoes soaking wet. We ended up accidentally passing our intended campsite (had a name ending with “gap,” but was at the top of a hill!). We hiked with Mantis, Bear Bell and Wild Cat. Bear Bell and Wild Cat ended up finding a stealth spot along the ridge.
Fuego: we hiked 6.9 miles today (648.7-655.6). I was excited for today. From the signs of it, we were going to the Captain’s for a big gathering and meet back up with my first group of trail friends for the evening. The Captain is a man who owns a house by a river off the Appalachian Trail. He lets hikers tent in his yard and leaves out a cooler of soda. Since it is not a hostel, no one stays in his house. Once we got there, we had to cross the river with a zip line system. I must say it was pretty fun!
The party had more people than I expected, but it was planned that way. After Trail Days in Damascus it takes an average of two weeks to hike to the Captains. There was over 3 grand of food and there was always something on the grill. There was even a karaoke tent set up for the night. Once I found out Bearded Crab, Good Foot, and Brother Ty were coming for sure, I knew I was staying here for the night.
Bearded Crab showed up with his girlfriend Summer and we went to go on a beer run for several individuals since they had a car. Riding in the car was a little nerve racking for me I must say. Bearded Crab wasn’t driving crazy, but just riding in Summer’s Celica through the curvy mountain roads was intense! I’ve been in the woods for months now. I’m not used to cars. You feel like the car is going too fast and the tires are about to slip off the road. It was also funny arriving back to Pearisburg, because it only took 20 minutes, not 2 days.
Once we got back to the Captains, there was little competitions going on for free Ben & Jerrys. Fancy Pants won for most random items in backpack. There was also the smelliest shirt, hairiest legs, limbo, and maybe a few others.
(The Captain is the guy wearing the speedo t-shirt in the photo below)
Miss Janet brought Brother Ty and Good Foot over so Brother Ty could see everyone before he went back home to Oklahoma. It was was like old times hanging out with the group again.
I ended up having an amazing night with everyone. The food was unbelievable. There was hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, brats, kielbasa, pork loins, grilled veggies, wings, fish, steaks, ribs, corn on the cob, you name it! The whole cultural experience of the trail is just ridiculously awesome. The Mayor told me that night, “I am 55 years old and I thought I’ve seen everything.”
Fancy Pants: I don’t think we previously mentioned why Brother Ty is leaving. When he was at the Laurel Falls Shelter getting water one night, he slipped on a rock and fell and slid down the hill to a 20 foot drop to the ground. Thankfully, his back is not broken, but he has a few months of recovery ahead of him, so he will be going home to Tulsa.