Days 41-45: Beware of Goats, They Eat Trail Legs for Breakfast
The last 5 days consisted of many great meals and meeting lots of great people. Sometimes catching up to the bubble isn’t such a bad thing.
Hiking from: Campsite past VA route 625
To: Stealth-site before VA 615
Total grade: 432.8 ft/mile (+)
Favorite part of the day: Pizza & Coffee!
Comments: This day started with a steep climb (lovely!). Then we were rewarded at the top with a great shelter called the Chestnut Knob Shelter which had an awesome privy view of the valley. Then we hiked down and hiker hunger hit HARD. We happened to be about .5 miles down the road from Burke Garden Hostel and got a ride there for pizza and coffee. Such a nice break from the regular tortilla and peanut butter lunch.
We got back on trail about two hours later and continued on a rocky ridge. This is when I realized I left my Gossamer Gear foam pad and my water filter at the hostel. It was too late to go back and we still had one filter between us so we just continued on. Maybe it will bring me good karma by supplying another hiker.
We camped at a stealth site right next to the trail so it would be easy to get going in the morning as we had plans for an early morning to miss the rain and big mileage.
Hiking from: Stealth-site before VA 615
To: Weary Feet Hostel
Total grade: 414.7 ft/mile (-)
Motivation: Bedroom at Weary Feet!
Favorite part of the day: Getting into bed
Comments: We woke up at 4:15 am to avoid the snow coming in around 7. We were officially moving by 5. It didn’t start raining until 7:30 AM which was lucky. But then came freezing rain. I can’t wait for when I can just say rain.
Fortunately, we had something to look forward to: the Bushy Mountain Outpost breakfast. About 7 miles into our hike, we stopped at the Bushy Mountain Outpost for omelets, biscuits, and hash browns and packed out burgers for lunch later. I’m still undecided on whether hiking 25.8 miles with my stomach THAT full was a good choice, but the acid reflux was arguably worth it.
We continued on through rain, snow, hail, and intermittent sunshine until we hit Weary Feet Hostel. We completed 25.8 miles which is a new record. This is about 1.2% of the trail in one day. We also passed the 600-mile mark. These things seem to come more frequently nowadays…We had a spaghetti dinner at Weary Feet and went to bed in a private room with a huge bed. Drifted off well-fed and extremely content.
Hiking from: Weary Feet Hostel
To: Woods Hole Hostel
Total grade: 302.5 ft/mile (+)
Motivation: Pearisburg is within reach!
Favorite part of the day: Vegetarian Feast
Comments: We woke up at 7:30 (sleeping in on trail) and went downstairs for pancakes with the rest of the hikers. This is when we learned our new friends Turtle Trax, Side Miles, and Lady were planning to slack pack to Woods Hole Hostel. We weren’t planning to go there, but it was on the way, and with all of us splitting the cost it ended up being $10 each. Hard to say no to that after 25.8 miles the day before.
So we began our slack pack to Woods Hole and in no time we were running. The trail was pretty flat for the majority of the morning, so it was too tempting to run through the woods. I think we ended up with a pace of 5 mph for the first half of the day then brought it down on the uphill. I saw my first snake while I was running which was extra alarming. Luckily, I was already running so it was out of sight as fast as it was in sight.
We got to Woods Hole around 2 pm and only planned to pick up our packs and continue on to the next shelter, but when we arrived we were so impressed with the hostel we decided to stay and tent. They have goats, and pigs, and probably chickens although I didn’t see them personally. They had a huge garden and cook a homemade vegetarian feast every night for their guests. It was easy to decide to stay once we were there. It only meant adding a few extra miles to our day tomorrow into Pearisburg.
The dinner was amazing and so was the company. We met so many cool people we hadn’t met before and all enjoyed stuffing our faces with cheesy mashed potatoes, rice, lentils, and ginger cookies for dessert. Best dinner on trail yet.
Hiking from: Woods Hole Hostel
To: Cross Ave
Total grade: 404.0 ft/mile (-)
Motivation: Reach Pearisburg!
Favorite part of the day: Dinner & Dairy Queen
Comments: We woke up to a beautiful sunrise over a meadow outside our tent. We watched the goats and pigs eat their pineapple and leftovers breakfast then enjoyed coffee on the porch.
We officially began our 11 mile hike to Pearisburg with margaritas and burritos on our minds as it was Cinco De Mayo. 11 miles of sunny, gorgeous weather.
We arrived in Pearisburg around 1 pm and learned our reservation at Angels Rest Hostel for a private room got messed up but they offered free tenting so we did that happily. We resupplied, showered, did laundry, and then went to the nearby Mexican restaurant for a Cinco de Mayo feast.
Another thru-hiker named Long John Silver paid for the whole meal for about 26 hikers out of the goodness of his heart and became a trail legend in no time.
We hit up Dairy Queen after for blizzards because how could you not? Actually, two blizzards each. Somehow, we made it back to our tent and passed out with way too much food in my system.
Hiking from: Cross Ave
To: Campsite before Pine Swamp Camp Shelter
Total grade: 402.5 ft/mile (+)
Favorite part of the day: Goats and not the goats
Comments: Leaving Pearisburg was hot and consisted of many switchbacks. This is not what you want leaving a town but is always what you get.
There was fortunately a gorgeous view of West Virginia and Virginia at the top. It almost made the climbing worth it.
We had lots of wildlife encounters this day. The first was a bumble bee that would not leave Town’s knee. I joked that there was something sweet on it and then later that same day, a herd of goats were attracted to the same knee. In fact, the goats harassed us on the trail for at least 10 minutes. We couldn’t shake them. Town didn’t care as much as I did but when wild goats are biting your calve, I think it’s appropriate to run. Maybe that’s just me. Town, on the other hand, had fun leading them like a shepherd.
We ended our day at a gorgeous campsite with room for 10 or so tents but we had it all to ourselves. We cooked ramen and fell into a deep sleep aka the normal routine.
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Was this hike in fact in May of 2023 or earlier?
Snow in May?
Coming from a very temperate climate (think. coast of Texas) I am prepping
for 2024 on the Trail and finalizing required clothing.
Enjoyed your blog.
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