After another beautiful drive, this time in my convertible to really enjoy the springtime in Virginia, I met up with Chris to take a zero day off the trail together. He was at mile 620, just short of Pearisburg, Virginia. After Trailfest in Hot Springs North Carolina, I saw him one week later at Elk Park, North Carolina. Since then, he had left North Carolina and Tennessee, and made it into southern Virginia.
Along the way, Chris hiked alone on some days, and with other hikers at times. He has seen wild horses, beautiful sunrises, some snowy weather, and some warm afternoons. In my two previous visits to see him in trail towns, I’ve been able to meet some of the hikers as well and hear their stories.
In southern Virginia, I met him at Wood’s Hole Hostel, which is a magical place and one that I am so glad I found. A 2-story cabin in the woods, plus a hiker bunkhouse, great food, and lots of community spirit. It’s a bit off the grid so we didn’t have to worry about emails or phone calls all weekend. The owners, Neville and Michael, have run the place for the last 10 years or so, after inheriting the hostel from her grandparents, who ran the place from the 1940’s on. Each morning we had a huge, filling breakfast, with three helpers volunteering to help cook the meal, three more serving, and three more cleaning up. Peach oatmeal crisp, eggs with bacon, and fresh bread with applebutter.
Throughout the day there was yoga, meditation, hiking, and generally lazing about, until it was time for dinner prep- the first night we had tortillas, rice, beans, corn, ground beef, salsa, sour cream, salad, and fresh bread. Again, three helpers made feeding an army of 22 hikers that much easier. Luckily I had booked ahead so Chris and I had a private room in the main cabin- no hiker bunkhouse for me! We had a lot to celebrate, so I brought a bottle of wine and we toasted Chris’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and him finishing almost 1/3 of the Appalachian Trail. Overall the weekend was amazing and I hope one day to go back to Wood’s Hole Hostel- but maybe next time, I’ll go when it’s not hiking season!