Acorn, Ranger and Hostels

Day 41:  AT Miles 12.8 —  Bear Garden To Burke’s Garden Hostel

I loved the start to my day today. I knew I’d be waiting out the rain so I was able to get caught up on Internet stuff which mainly means shopping and planning future days. I don’t get to do nearly enough of that anymore. The rain would slack off somewhere around noon so that gave me plenty of time. It also gave me a lot of time to eat. Our lovely hostess makes homemade jams and I think I had six pieces of toast with her strawberry jam.

Too soon though it was time to hit the trail. We were so lucky because the entire six hours of hiking was in beautiful weather. The trail was sloppy, but I’ll take it. The only issue was the entire day was a climb. I was pleasantly surprised that the last few miles of it was through a grassy meadow. For some reason that didn’t seem like hard hiking to me as much as when it’s through the woods.

Meadow Trekking

The day was even fun with my first creek crossing where I had to wade in. There were rumors that it was difficult and dangerous, but in the end, it was just fun. Panda and I made it across quite easily.

Panda Crossing

In no time which means six hours, I was at the next hostel that we were staying at to avoid more rain. It’s was in a beautiful pastoral setting and included waffles the next morning. It’s the little things in life.

Burke’s Garden

Day 42: AT Miles 21.4 —  Burke’s Garden To VA Route 612

I like being the first or second one to wake up in the hostels and get to the coffee pot. That was the case today as I was second in line for the coffee. By 7 AM  I had three large cups plus a waffle. That was setting me up for a good day of hiking. I needed to get in at least 20 miles to have 20 tomorrow to the next hostel but was getting a late start. I was in no hurry to leave the great hikers staying there and their stories.

There was a lot of climbing today, but overall the terrain was pretty manageable. My hiking partner and I had intended to get in about 24 miles but there was an awesome campsite by a creek at just over 21 miles and that seemed like the smart thing to take advantage of. When we looked at the map of hiking tomorrow, there was going to be about an 8 mile dry stretch so camping by the creek allowed us to camel up in the morning and get through that.


Pristine Stream

Road Walking

Special thanks to hiker Ranger tonight for the two beers he gave me. That really made my dinner extra wonderful. I’ve hiked around him for a few weeks and he’s also one of the nicest people out here. Plus he’s from Northern California where I’ve spent a lot of vacation time so awesome to talk to him about the cool places out there.

Acorn was with us as well and I’ve run into her a lot over the last few weeks. Always great to talk to her about nutrition where she is an expert. Acorn is finishing up soon and I wish her the best.

Ranger and Acorn

Kind of bittersweet going home soon as I know I’m gonna lose track with a lot of the people I’ve hiked with over this past month. At the same time there’s plenty of new faces and great people to meet when I get back.


Day 43:  AT Miles 17.4 — VA Route 612 To Weary Feet Hostel

I slept great in my tent. There was a creek rushing by and even the highway in the distance sounded like my home in Columbus. Still I was slow getting out of camp in the morning and it was around 9 AM before I hit the trail. It was not going to be a very long day since I had just over 17 miles to get to the next hostel where I planned on resupplying.

The day was very cool in the 30s when I started out and it never made it out of the mid 40s. The trail was pretty standard with a few ups and a few downs but nothing that hard and the 17.4 miles went by really quickly. There were some beautiful meadows and views along the way. But the best part of the day was the incredible dinner and two pieces of cake at the hostel. I know I’m going to sleep good tonight.

600 Miles

Cool Bridge Crossing

Spring has Sprung

Just three more days hiking until I head for home for a break of five days from the trail. At dinner tonight someone said it would be really hard to get back on the trail after being home for so long and I can imagine that to be true. I haven’t seen my family for a while now, so I think I’ll chance it.

Day 44:  AT Miles 15.6 — Weary Feet To Wood’s Hole Hostel

Well, it’s hard to describe how good of a day it was today. In the next couple paragraphs, I’m gonna try to list what made it such a great day. These items are in no particular order but since I’ve been married for almost 40 years now I’m smart enough to list the one involving my wife first.

I was able to FaceTime with my wife for about half an hour during one of the most scenic stretches of the trail. It was great to catch up and she got to see some of the various beautiful trail that I was hiking that day. Other items that made the day special were a fabulous breakfast at the hostel, perfect  hiking weather, the afore mentioned beautiful trail, the shorter day into perhaps the best hostel I’ve stayed at to date, a yoga class, debuting my new ear buds with an audio book, and an incredible farm raised dinner with great company. The evening ended chatting with and learning from some trail experts in the bunkhouse.

Scenic Stream

My Yoga Partner


Jaws, a cool dude

Woods Hole Hostel

On the negative side, the only thing I can think of is that my shoes are finally shot after over 600 miles. I need to get my replacements when I go home at the end of this week. I’ve started to get a few blisters and the spring seems to be gone in them.

Tomorrow I will get up and start the day with a fabulous breakfast and do about 20 miles to a tent site. That will set me up for a full day hiking on Wednesday before I rent a car on Thursday and head for my home in Columbus, Ohio.


Day 45:  AT Miles 20.4  — Wood’s Hole To Stealth Site

Well, as predicted, it was very hard to leave the hostel. The breakfast was as incredible as the dinner. I didn’t get on the trail again till after 9:30 AM. The morning was just the right coolness, but I was so full that I didn’t feel very fast.

My breakfast

It warmed up pretty quickly and I was shedding layers. I stayed warm because most of the day was uphill, except for a brief part where we descended into Perrysburg, Virginia. All that meant was we had to climb back out again. Two water sources that I relied on were dried up, so I also ended up hiking a little extra down to the river where I could filter some of the water. I just hope it was a clean river.

What a View

In the end, it was a 20 plus mile day. That  leaves me less than 14 miles to do tomorrow to reach the pick up point for the shuttle that will take me to the rental car agency. Hard to believe that I will be home for a five day visit beginning Thursday. Can’t wait to see everyone!


Day 46:  AT Miles 13.5 — Stealth Site To VA 635

I laid in my tent longer than usual this morning since I was not hiking big miles, and due to the fact that it was lightly raining. I was in no hurry. I had my tea, my coffee, and my oatmeal and was finally ready to go around 9:30 AM. Today would be the day I would shuttle to Roanoke and be ready for a car rental to get me home by dinner time. Even though the mileage was short, the time was going to go by slowly because of the anticipation.

The morning was dreary and cool, but that was good because most of the uphill was in the beginning of the day. The sun came out and it was really nice out. That lasted for about two hours. Then the day seemed to say that it was going to challenge me hard if I was going to take days off. The last part of the trail was hard to follow and a lot uphill. In the end, I was done in enough time to make a lunch and wait for the shuttle.

Awesome Woods

Scenic Stream

Once in Roanoke I had an outstanding Mexican dinner which will be followed by a hotel stay and then the rental car. I’m really looking forward to getting on the road with the windows rolled down, the music playing and to be home in time for dinner. Oh, and visiting my family will be nice too.

I’ll be home for a total of five days so I think the next blog will be things that I’ve learned so far on the trail and the equipment that’s worked well and what hasn’t. Hopefully it will be a decent read.

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