Day 56 – The Pilgrimage to Woods Hole Hostel

Sips plan to hit up Trent’s Grocery again in the morning was a stroke of genius. What’s better than a hot meal? A hot meal for dinner and another for breakfast the next day (and maybe another for lunch and dinner).

Rabbit guilted me into getting out of bed, and not rolling over and back to sleep at 7:30AM (although I easily could have). Another hour of sleep would have been welcome and perhaps my body could have used it (our last zero was in Damascus over 20 days ago). We packed up and looked forward to a hot breakfast just up the road. Spirits were high.

We had biscuit breakfast sandwiches and met the owner of Trent’s Grocery (Trent himself? Alas I don’t recall his name, shame on me). We enjoyed the food and company and didn’t depart until close to 10AM. It was still brisk outside, the night temperatures had dropped to 46 degrees but the rising sun felt good that morning.

2 miles into the day we got to Dismal Falls, which despite the name was anything but. The water stair-stepped and cascaded down roughly 25ft into a shallow pool below. Naturally, I decided to test the waters. I climbed down to a lower level and tested the depth of the pool below with a backflip. The pool below was maybe 4.5 ft deep, but deep enough for another jump at a higher elevation. The next jump can be seen in slow motion on my Instagram (@barkleycharles).

We eventually dragged ourselves away from Dismal Falls. It was 5 more miles to a pond and 1 more to Wapiti Shelter where we took a break and I cooked a hot meal (thanks to Sip letting me yogi hot water). I cracked the backs of Rabbit and Sip and taught them how as well (selfishly because I needed it too).There was a little over 7 miles left at that point when we got back on the trail.

We decided our stopping point would be Woods Hole Hostel if they had room for us in the bunkhouse. We had a 2 mile climb before we could get cellular service to find out.

As luck would have it, they did have room for us although we’d probably arrive too late for dinner, which we were ok with. I had been spoiled by a couple hot meals already that day. The last 5 miles of the day though we’re not pleasant.

The rocky terrain made my aching feet hurt even worse. The scenery was admittedly easy on the eyes, however my temperament at the moment was not amendable to enjoying the views. The final mile seemed to drag on forever. We finally exited the trail and had a half-mile journey down the hill to Woods Hole Hostel.

The woods parted and a campus of buildings was before us. 100+ year old log cabin with garden beds, a stream, a pen of goats eating grass; this place has it all. We were greeted kindly by the hosts and given the tour. To our surprise we had made it in time for dinner. We were provided delicious home baked bread, spaghetti, salad and black eyed beans. It was one of the better cooked meals I’ve had on trail so far.

We explored the grounds and set up near the fire pit for a while. While preparing to shower and do laundry, we found hair clippers. Sip and Rabbit had mentioned they needed haircuts and I offered my services. I have cut my own hair for the last 15 years and they seemed to trust my abilities. I gave Sip a fade and Rabbit a Mohawk (although it’s too long and lacking products for it to stick up). Everybody seemed pleased.

We showered, did laundry, and enjoyed some fairly comfortable beds for the night. 16 miles and 3 hot meals made today a very solid day. One could only hope and pray for more of these in the future.

Stay tuned for day 57 on the Appalachian Trail.

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Comments 3

  • thetentman : Jun 11th

    Wait… you take awesome photos and cut hair. A true Renaissance man. Thanks for the post.

  • Ray : Jun 11th

    What about a shave? Is it AT tradition that the guys simply don’t shave the entire thru hike? It seems like the facial hair would make one hot in the summer.

  • Kristen Fiedler : Jun 11th

    Woods Hole was the best! Great post!


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