We slept well in the heated bunk room, which is simply a converted garage with several bunks, at Angels Rest Hiker Hostel. It was very cozy. We walked over to the communal kitchen and coffee was waiting for us and noticed the frost on the grass as we crossed the yard. This is likely a sign of things to come.
By 9AM we were shuttled back to the trail and we began the long ascent out of town. It wasn’t a super steep climb but it did seem to last a while. We’re always thankful the south does switchbacks. We reached the Angels Rest summit and checked our watch, we had been climbing for over an hour, it wasn’t our mind playing tricks on us. We took a quick break and looked down at Pearisburg and could see the hiker hostel we had just come from.
After the forever climb we had a really nice long ridge walk. It was a really pleasant day on trail, the sun was warm and the skies were blue. After the last few days of cold wind we really appreciated the favorable change. We started joking about doing a flip-flop hike, something we definitely were not doing when we were shivering a few days ago.
We cruised and made our way through some rhododendron tunnels. We only saw a few other hikers even though the weather was perfect for hiking. There was also another reason for our good mood…we decided to hostel hop. We were headed to our second hostel in 2 days, Woods Hole Hostel. This is a very special place nestled in the woods just a half mile off trail. Eric has good memories of it from his 2011 hike. We also had been hearing about it since Maine. This is one of the oldest hostels on trail hosting thru-hikers since 1986. The bunk house we are staying in is an 1880’s chestnut log cabin set on a 100 acre primitive property. The hostel focuses on sustainable living through organic farming. They serve breakfast and dinner using some of their homegrown produce.
We enjoyed wandering around, taking in the sights and interacting with the chonky animals which include a cat, pig, goats and a few dogs. We showered again and started some laundry. The communal area has a pellet stove keeping it warm and toasty. There is a small hiker resupply stand but we are stocked up from Pearisburg.
We sat on the porch of the main house (which also serves as a B&B) and enjoyed the view. There was a chill in the air but nothing could keep us inside with a property like this for us to explore and enjoy. To our surprise a few other SOBOs arrived including Soups and Just Jeremy. We enjoyed catching up with them. We reminisced about our time in the Northeast and talked about our plans for the last 600+ miles.
A 6pm the dinner bell rang (a triangle on the porch) and we headed into the main house. Neville, who owns the property, had us circle up, introduce ourselves and talk about what we are thankful for. Eric was thankful for being able to hike the AT with Hayley and Hayley was thankful for sunshine. Dinner was delicious! Best squash soup we have ever had with homemade bread. Salad from the garden with homemade tahini dressing. A Mexican bean casserole and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We sat around the table for a while after, too full to move.
Eventually we made our way back to the bunkhouse and read in the common room by the warm pellet stove. This was such an excellent experience and we hope to return someday!
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