The Magic of Hostels
A Feel for the AT Community
Sitting around in a circle, talking shit in what Nimrod calls the Liar’s Den or something to that effect; a place where fellow hikers, young and old, veterans and virgins, can sit around and talk about their thru-hike.
It seems that in most social settings, the eyes of one’s companions glaze over after more than a few seconds of hiking jargon, gear talk, and poop stories, so it feels good to be surrounded by fellow gear nerds and hiker trash.
For most people ending their day at Above The Clouds, it’s their third day on trail; seems a bit early for a bed and a shower, but it’s so much more than that!
I was hesitant to pay for a hostel so early on, but the crowds were getting to me. There was no space at shelters and I knew Neel Gap was going to be packed. I’m also starting this trail from Florida, where it was 90 degrees when I left, so the cold is a bit more than this delicate flower wanted to endure.
I’m so glad I decided to stay at a hostel early on; it’s almost magical. I hadn’t seen the “community” aspect of trail up to this point; there are just way too many people hiking this year, so having ten or so fresh hikers alongside Lucky, Nimrod, and even Nimble Will Nomad really highlighted the community aspect of the trail and made me realize how important that is.
If you’re having a rough go of it, want to get out of the weather, or just want to escape the crowded shelters for a night, stay at a place like this! Not only will you walk back on trail clean and fed, but it may just provide you with a bump of happiness and extra motivation to push you through the next section of trail.
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