The rain was heavier than expected and we were relieved to be in a shelter last night. We also enjoyed having shelter to ourselves, it made getting up early much easier and more enjoyable to drink coffee within, without disturbing others. One of the benefits to SOBO is by the end you are likely to have shelters to yourselves on a regular basis especially on the weekdays.
Unfortunately the warm sunshine has gone back to cold and gray. However we were in high spirits because we’re headed to town to stay at a hostel on an Alpaca Farm! We made our way through the rolling mountains and down to the main road. The weather had changed from misty cold and gray to actual light rain. It is not as refreshing as it once was. Being wet and chilled, we were definitely looking forward to a hot shower.
We passed through several cow pastures. Then hit another fun milestone: three quarters of the trail has been completed! It is always fun to reflect on our journey at these markers. At this point, SOBOs can see the finish line. It is still a long way away, about 549 miles but that no longer seems that far away.
After a few hours we made it to our destination! Alpacas greeted us as we made our way to the bunkhouse. We were a little nervous that nothing could stand up to Woods Hole but we already love this place and are looking forward to a nice relaxing evening. Cyndie, the owner, even brought over a few donuts for us hungry hikers.
It was a cozy night in the bunkhouse. We woke a little before twilight, which now occurs at 7:15AM and enjoyed watching the colors while drinking coffee on the porch. This picturesque homestead was complete with sounds of rooster alarm as the sun rose.
Shortly after the sun was up, Ken, the owner invited us to feed the alpacas. This was such a fun and unique AT experience. This hostel is only a year old but we anticipate it will become one of the more popular hostels on trail. Cyndie and Ken are incredibly welcoming, hospitable, and hiker friendly. Just another one of those places that makes the AT special.
We got a later start than usual but we could not turn down the alpacas and had to enjoy a second cup of coffee on the porch. We also had to complete a strategic gas station resupply. This will need to get us to Damascus so we’ll be enjoying the incredibly healthy gas station essentials for the next four days: ramen, candy bars and Hostess donuts. Luckily we did score some peanut butter, granola bars and crackers in the hiker box at the hostel.
We reluctantly set out but soon were hit with some trail magic at the Lindamood School House (built in 1894). Someone had put together packets of granola bars and other toiletries for hikers. Again this is what makes the AT so special is these little acts of kindness done by the community.
We enjoyed the rest our day in the sunshine, arriving at Partnership Shelter around 4PM. Being close to the Mount Rogers HQ, it is possible to get pizza delivered to the shelter and of course we’re not going to miss this opportunity. We enjoyed our pizza by the fire and had the massive shelter to ourselves.
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