Pearisburg to Marion

April 28 Day 40 Angel’s Rest Hiker’s Haven Zero Day

Ahhh, a Zero Day. Zeroliscious. This has been a good place to take a day off. I did walk over to the store and buy some more food to eat today. A good idea. I got chicken tenders and some microwave burritos. Decent.

I spent today hanging out in the sun finishing the Michael Connelly book I have been reading since Daleville. I really want to read Ready Player One, since it seems like everyone is reading it but I can’t find it at Rite Aid and I don’t want to download it on my phone. I’ll come across a copy, I’m sure.

It’s been nice talking with the caretakers here and the other hikers. My friends Trial and Error are here, so it’s nice to catch up with them. No word from Double Vision, Cheesesteak or Lucky Boy.

Time now to go eat my Hot Pockets and go to bed. Doing nothing all day has made me tired!

April 29 Day 41 Woods Hole Hostel

I feel like a pampered princess. Tonight will be the third, THIRD night in a row that I have spent in a hostel. But I could not miss this place. It’s one of the oldest hostels in the trail, the bunkhouse was built in the 1840s out of chestnut. Same with the main house. Of course there have been some renovations but essentially not much has changed. Neville and her husband Michael run the place; Neville’s grandparents discovered the place in 1940.

This place is special. I can feel it when I walk through the main house, and the bunkhouse. The land feels sacred. I can’t stop running my hands over the chestnut beams that constitute the bunkhouse. While sitting at the dinner table I would catch myself staring up at the beams overhead.

Dinner.

Both Neville and her husband are master gardeners. At a time when most farms are bare (it’s been a late spring here) they have all sorts of things growing in raised beds in front of the main house.

The first courses were a giant salad, homemade bread just out of the oven, hummus and egg salad.

I hadn’t realized how much I was craving greens.

Then, rice with homemade red sauce and sausage. Another rice dish with soy sauce and greens and sausage. Tortilla soup. Bread.

Everything is made from scratch.

After dinner I sat on the couch and talked with Bear Charmer, an older woman who helps Neville the same way she helped her Grandmother Tilly. A cat ran across the room and jumped on my lap, purring and head butting me. Over the course of my stay I had similar encounters with different cats. So nice to be around animals.

Neville served up homemade peanut butter ice cream on cones and after that I walked back to the bunkhouse, and here I am almost ready to fall blissfully asleep.

I’d like to mention that I found the book Ready Player One in the book exchange here. The trail provides.

I can see the full moon rising through the trees out the window.

April 30 Day 42 Brushy Mountain Tentsite

I walked out of Woods Hole after thanking Neville for her profound kindness and wonderful food. If I am ever in this part of the country again I will go out of my way to stay here again. Simply a magical experience.

That’s what the AT is all about.

Sometimes!

I hiked down a ridge into the Dismal Creek valley and followed the creek for about 10 miles of nice hiking. I saw many NOBOs, and I stopped to chat with Farm All, a retired trucker from Vermont who collects Farm All tractors, hence the trail name. He’s making very good time on the trail and we shared war stories about snow and freezing temps. After fist bumping (hikers never shake hands, who knows what’s on them!) we wished each other happy hiking and I went along my way.

I started feeling a bit nauseous and the feeling lingers still. Could be any number of things. Few things are more uncomfortable than hiking with a hip belt and having stomach pain. Yuck.

Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow and I’ll be back to eating a ton of trail food. Maybe the real food I had at Woods Hole threw me off. Who knows!

I’m camped up on a ridge with a NOBO and it is beautiful up here. The trees aren’t quite filled out so I have views of all the farms below.

It’s going to be a nice night.

May 4 Day 46 Econo Lodge, Marion

The local public transportation picked me up this morning and dropped me at the hospital. The doctor said I probably had giardia, and wrote me a prescription. As I was standing outside of the emergency room an older gentleman walked up to me and started talking about the trail. Big Tom is a farmer who lives in the area and he likes to give hikers a ride when he sees them. He offered me a lift over to Walmart to get my prescription filled and was also keen on showing me his brand new truck. Super nice guy.

I got some healthy food in Walmart and waited for my meds. Some fruit, oatmeal and bagels to pack out on this next stretch.

I have to constantly remind myself that things like this are part of the trail too, and that even though it gets me down, that feeling will pass. I recognize it for what it is and let it go. Of course it is helpful to have the support and encouragement of friends and loved ones. And strangers.

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