In the morning we walked over to the main building for coffee at around 7:30. Before breakfast though, all twenty five (that's a lot for any hostel) hikers had to join hands in a circle, say their trail name, where they are from, and something we are thankful for. Tyler was thankful for roofs, Emily was thankful for dogs. It was strange. Saying thanks with a group of people you know is one thing, all these strangers that we may never see again seemed a bit forced. But, hey, it's bound to get a little hippy dippy on occasion.
Breakfast was homemade sausage, Woods Hole raised eggs, peach cobbler, homemade bread with jam and butter, and tons of juice. It was delicious and served to us on plates direct to the seats which is way fancier than usual. Afterwards we all had minor chores to do around the hostel and we packed up. At around 9:30 we enjoyed a brief, complimentary yoga session (Emily bowed out since the light in the hostel common area was glaring at her all night and she was too tired). After that, the crème De la crème, Tyler got a massage. The hostel advertised massages in the AT guide book and he signed up for a thirty minute massage the night before. It was was bourgeois and spectacular. Everyone even waited for him (or just didn't want to get back on the trail) so we didn't get rolling until around 11. We had to hit Pearisburg for actual resupply after the mini Bland resupply.
Our near-oh, ever more aggressive, was now just over 11 miles. The trail was pretty forgiving (especially after the rocky extravaganza from the night before). Though, we did, of course, run into a bit more rain. It wasn't a show soaker, but we really, really, would just like a break from it for a few days. Please. Just maybe a 36 hour stretch would be nice. Please.
Dean, who was a bit ahead of us, waited for us at the road like a real gentleman. One car from Angels Rest Hostel was waiting at the trail head that needed a jump. But, soon after, another car showed up and shuttles the three us us, Red Eye, and Fireproof all to town without asking for anything. We had a room at the Plaza Motel booked (and needed a little break from hostels) but we felt a little bad to not give such a generous place our business. They were even throwing a hiker feed (yeah the "feed" nomenclature is reminiscent of animals) that later they told us we were all invited to.
We checked in to the hotel, which was only $66 a night, for three beds (Bambi would be showing up later). There was a Food Lion across the street, the front desk lady said she'd do our laundry for no charge, and there was cheap Mexican across the street. This is pretty much hiker utopia.
Before Tyler and Dean headed to resupply, Matt Methot, i.e. Happy Hour and his girlfriend, Gretchen, i.e. Pink Tangerine, showed up to say hello. Happy Hour was a freshmen when Tyler was a senior at his high school (as such he was a bit hard to recognize). Happy Hour also ran cross country with Cole, Tyler's brother, in high school and knows Jill, Tyler's sister, from the past as well. He started on April 14th, but is a lot faster than us, caught up, and heard Tyler's trail name mentioned by some other hikers. It was nice to see a face from the past. They were going to hit up Chinese buffet for dinner, but we had our heart set on mexican, but now that we are moving better, perhaps we will cross paths many more times.
After resupply, uneventful as ever (other than seeing a number of other hikers like No Chill and saying hi to her dog Sir Barks a Lot) we headed to Mexican with Red eye, Duck Fart, Patch, Yard Sale, Dean, Bambi, and Fireproof.
The Mexican was cheap, plentiful, and could be ordered with enormous margaritas. Yard Sale, another new electrical engineer, Fireproof and Tyler talked shop a bit. We also met Patch for the first time (a former section hiker who got his name by patching up tents and people in the past). He's a former fire fighter who worked at BOW who, sadly, is on medical retirement after getting a horrible bulging disk after saving someone's life (the final back damage was done while picking up the stretcher, he says when the patient asks you if you're okay, you know you messed something up real bad). He's got some serious hardware in his back, which prevents him from doing his former job, but not from backpacking like a crazy man. He did say he would gladly give up retirement if he could keep working. It sounds like he seriously loved what he did.
We also learned more about Duck fart, who is managing a bar at his friends brew pub. After co owning a landscaping company for six years, he said riding that stressful rollercoaster through the financial crisis was enough, so he started bartending. When his buddy opened a brew pub and asked him to co own it with him, he said no thanks, but that he'd manage the bar. Definitely the right choice, he says.
After dinner we all headed back to the motel, some with DQ ice cream. There has been a lot of socializing lately, even though it isn't normal for us, we like our bubble/family. We hung out for a while and slowly trickled back to our rooms for some tv brain before heading to bed at the oh so late time of 11.