Hostel Hopping In Southern Virginia

Woods Hole Hostel

Neville, the granddaughter of the original owners of Woods Hole Hostel, provides serenity, a daily yoga class, and a delicious organic, vegetarian dinner and breakfast. Some of the vegetables are even from her own garden. The hostel is in a beautiful countryside setting about one-half mile from the trail.

I stayed in the loft, a private room in the 19th century farmhouse. Most hikers stayed in a bunkhouse, which had a comfortable common space. Below is a view of the bunkhouse from the loft.

Neville created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere by holding a gratitude circle before each meal. Lodgers shared their gratitude for the hostel’s setting and hospitality, the joy of being in nature, having the physical ability to hike, and more.

Quite coincidentally, at dinner, three of us discovered we had been or still were lawyers—me, Bitcoin, and Pastor John. Bitcoin’s specialty was intellectual property in the California computer world. Pastor John had been a civil rights lawyer, involved in ten cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. And I am not quite fully retired from my social security disability practice. I am waiting for a decision in one last case.

Neville invites lodgers to help with chores and offers a work for stay option. Some people took a zero there the next day. However, shortly after breakfast, I left for Pearisburg, where I also planned to spend another night indoors.

Hike Into Pearisburg

Having been so rejuvenated by the hostel stay, I realized I would like to access indoor lodging when it is easily available from the trail. Although it would be a short hike, I decided to stay in Pearisburg. Since I knew I was only hiking 11.5 miles, I had a leisurely day, spending lots of time posting photos of flowers on iNaturalust. Below is fire pink.

Since a private room was not available at Angel’s Rest Hostel, I spent the night in Pearisburg at the Holiday Lodge, which I don’t recommend. The sign in the office, which said “no refunds for any reason,” should have been a clue. There was no shampoo, the mirror over the sink was missing, and the manager was unfriendly. I was told by several hikers that the Plaza Motel next door offered a hiker discount and had a friendly and helpful office manager. Poor choice on my part.

I ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Kodak, who is an anthropology student at McGill University in Montreal studying the behavior of thru-hikers. I hope to see him again so he can interview me for his project.

The Ledges And Dragon’s Tooth

The next three days, I chose to tent alone. The first night was uneventful and I knew Pete was camped a mile behind me and Lieutenant Dan (named by hiker Sergeant Pepper) and Patch McCracken were a mile ahead of me. Interestingly, McCracken recognized the Ukrainian flag pin on my hat and shared that she spent 2weeks in Ukraine as a medic.

On the second night, while eating dinner, I heard noise in the woods, and saw a bear cub about 100 feet away in the mountain laurel thicket. I banged on my pot, but I thought the cub was lingering. Thankfully Viking hiked by. I told him about the cub and he turned up the volume on his music. I did not see the cub again, but took rocks with me into my tent in case it returned.

On the third day, I saw lots of hikers on trail and at vistas like Jenny’s Knob, and for trail magic at Sinking Mountain Road. Thank you Steve! I carried enough water so I wouldn’t have to stop at Sarver Hollow Shelter, which was a steep, 4/10 mile from the trail.

But continuing on, I reached ledges, which have beautiful vistas, but were difficult to hike across. The wind was howling and rain was spitting. I was not a happy hiker. After finally crossing the ledges, I began to look for a campsite. I could have stayed at the continental divide, but it seemed too exposed in the threatening weather. So I hiked on, not finding a tentsite until dusk, 19.6 miles from the start of my day. I was exhausted.

The next day, I hiked up Brushy Mountain to the Audie Murphy Monument. Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier in World War II, became an actor, and died in a plane crash near the monument. Below Pocket Knife, a dayhiker, is standing next to the monument.

I also passed the Keffer Oak, the widest tree  along the Appalachian Trail in the south.

I planned to hike to Dragon’s Tooth, a giant rock thrust from the ground from where there are fabulous views. Due to the terrain, it took me longer than expected to reach the junction, and I decided to forego the 1/10 mile side trail.

The descent from the trail junction was the most difficult I have  encountered so far. There were near vertical rock slabs which I slowly descended, as I was afraid I would fall. There was even a sign in the woods, pictured below, which warned hikers that the trail was strenuous!

4 Pines Hostel

I was relieved to finally reach 4 Pines Hostel, where owner Donna came out to greet me. A large garage houses a bunk room, common area, bathroom, and kitchen. Like about a dozen other hikers, I chose to sleep on a hillside in my tent.

There were a lot of hikers on the property, including Dottie, Cheeks,  and  Sweet Potato, all of whom I first met a few weeks ago. A hiker named  Dude recognized me from last September at Pinkham Lodge in the White Mountains! What a good memory he has.

Donna had cooked chili for dinner, but since I don’t eat meat, Donna said I could cook my own meal. Egg omelet with cheese and guacamole with rolls hit the spot.

To my delight, a massage therapist was onsite. I put my name on the list and later received a healing massage from David/Sage Shelton. The massage continued after the 10 p.m. lights out in the bunkhouse, while some people were still down at the campfire.

David plans to travel to other hostels this summer. I highly recommend his services.

The next morning, She-Ra, a hiker I  met about a week before while she was waiting for Viking, was in the kitchen, cooking breakfast for everyone. Thank you She-ra! Then before continuing on the trail, I got a shuttle to the post office to mail home the knee sleeves that I am no longer wearing, and to the grocery store to resupply, where I saw Smack Bar and Gone eating breakfast.

McAfee Knob And Tinker Cliffs

One of the most iconic sites on the AT is McAfee Knob. It was so exhilarating to reach it that I jumped for joy!

The next day I traversed across Tinker Rocks, which offers a series of views of the valley below for half a mile.  The descent from Tinker Rocks was so much easier than the descent from the Dragon’s Tooth area. What a relief.

Beech Hill Hostel

I had reserved a private room at Beech Hill Hostel in Troutville, which is a mere 200 feet from the trail. Beth and Yeeha are gracious hosts. Beth drove me and Moving On to the local Mexican restaurant and then to Kroger’s to resupply. I am looking forward to breakfast. Then I will be back on the trail. Stanimals in Glasgow may be my next stop.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 5

  • JhonYermoAdan : Jun 16th

    Always enjoy your postings. And this is one more of the same. Thank you so much for posting.

    • GMG (green mountain girl) : Jun 19th

      Thank you for your kind words!

  • Michele Clark : Jun 17th

    What ups and downs! And you’re doing them. Good for you. All is well in Vermont.

  • GMG (green mountain girl) : Jun 19th

    Thanks Michele! I slack packed 22 miles today!

  • Squeak : Jun 22nd

    She-ra is such a sweetheart. She cooked burgers for us last year at the glasgow shelter.


What Do You Think?