Day 58 – It’s A Small World

I woke up again to the ringing triangle signaling breakfast was ready at Woods Hole Hostel. The bed was comfortable and again I had to pry myself up from slumber. My tardiness made me miss the introduction and gratitude ceremony again. I felt much more rested today, the additional sleep and zero from yesterday had paid off.

Breakfast was the same spread of eggs, fresh fruit, and this time a French toast casserole dish. Sip, Rabbit and I sat down with the owner Neville and had a great conversation.

The prior day I had met a gentleman working at the Hostel called “Bitcoin”. He saw me cutting Rabbit’s hair and noted he was interested in getting the same haircut. After I was all packed up I obliged and gave him a matching cut.

Before leaving we thanked Neville for her hospitality and the wonderful stay. It was one of the best hostel experiences I’ve had on the trail so far. Neville is very down to earth and truly loves what she does. It’s a recommended stay for any AT thru-hiker, 10 out of 10!

We got out on the trail after 10AM. Our plan for 19 miles to Rice Field Shelter, was aggressive given our start time but we felt up to the challenge. The first 10 miles were very flat and we made good time. We took a break at an overlook and after 10-15 minutes made our way down the mountain into Pearisburg, VA.

On the way down we passed one more viewpoint called Angels Rest Rock. We debated on taking the short side trail to see the view and ultimately decided we might as well check it out. When we get to the rocks I notice a few other hikers and hear Sip exclaim “Holy Shit”. He apparently knew them and I figured they were other hikers he’d met earlier on the trail.

After talking with them a little I hear the girl has a Russian accent and many tattoos. I realize this was his ex-girlfriend (who he told us about) who now lives in Virginia. My mind was reeling at how this happened. Rabbit and I returned to the trail flabbergasted and left to Sip to catch up with them. We arrived at the bottom of the mountain in short order and messaged Sip we were considering going into town for Mexican food. He agreed to meet us.

We started walking the 1.1 miles to town while also sticking a thumb out for a hitch. After 5-10 minutes a car stopped and asked where we were going and if we wanted a ride. My second successful hitch of the trail ended up being hostel driver from town. We ate at La Barranca Mexican Grill.

I had a margarita and sizzling fajitas (which as hiker Bob would say “is because I like the attention”). He’s not wrong. I filled up on chips (as is the tradition) and only ended up eating half of my fajita plate. The rest I packed out for our night hike to the Shelter another 7 miles from town. Would it attract bears, maybe. Was that a risk I was willing to take, yes.

We got a ride back to the trailhead from Katya (Sips ex) after a quick and small resupply from Food Lion (Mio, Tylenol/Ibuprofen, an apple, a kiwi and an energy drink for tomorrow. We started back on the trail at shortly after 8PM. There was decent light for about an hour.

We had only been hiking for maybe 30 minutes when we hear a snap of branches and almost like a hissing sound. To our immediate right, maybe 10 feet off the trail we saw two baby black bears scurry up a tree. We all froze, I immediately scanned as quickly as I could looking for momma bear. There was a larger, although still adolescent looking bear on the ground a few feet behind the same tree. We were all deadlocked in a starring match. I yelled at the bear and made noise but it didn’t move. We decided to continue walking passed as we scanned for a larger bear in the area. None was seen and we walked further up the trail without issue. The encounter was unnerving nonetheless so early into our night hike.

As we continued on and night fell we could see fireflies twinkling all around us. We joked that they were “lighting us up for the bears to see”.  We hiked single file with our headlamps on and kept our conversation loud to alert anyone and anything nearby that we were there.

Our conversation ranged from CS Lewis to Harry Potter. I told a story of how I was at a Barnes and Noble book release for Harry Potter once. I was with friends and had already purchased my book and was flipping through the pages and came across a disturbing paragraph. After learning that in this book Dumbledore dies, I gasped and out loud told my friends what I had just learned. I was probably louder than I had intended to be and many of the people in line heard me also much to their dismay. (Spoiler alert: Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter AND I’m a terrible person).

We even found some beer trail magic (which had been left conveniently just up the trail by Katya herself). We made it up to Rice Fiedler Shelter a little after midnight. The Shelter was full so we got our tents set up in the grass nearby. No other bears were seen or heard from that evening.

Stay tuned for day 59 on the Appalachian Trail.

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Comments 3

  • Chris : Jun 13th

    If I recall correctly, hackers were able to get a copy of that Harry Potter book before it was released. There’s a video somewhere on the internet where there’s a long line at a book store,.. a car drives by and someone yells from the car, “Dumbledore Dies on Page XXX” Then, you hear the moan from the crowd. Yeah,.. you weren’t the only one out there ruining the story for others. But, good job nonetheless.

    Speaking of a good job, I’m enjoying your entries, and look forward to reading them each morning.

  • thetentman : Jun 13th

    Sizzling Fajitas? Bears? It sounds like you are having too much fun. Be careful.



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