I had an internal debate regarding whether I should stay for breakfast at Woods Hole. My cousin David was driving to Pearisburg today to meet up with me, and I wanted to get there early. Happily, my stomach won the debate. Breakfast included scrambled fresh eggs, sausage, peach crisp, and more freshly baked bread served with homemade preserves and apple butter. Just like dinner, the communal meal started with a thankfulness circle. The food was great, although it didn’t beat the Harbor House breakfast, but the feeling of camaraderie and togetherness was off the charts.
Far too soon, it was time for me to say goodbye to Woods Hole and hit the trail. I vowed, someday, to bring my wife back to this wonderful place so that she too could experience what I had felt.
After about a mile and a half of rocky scrambling, the trail opened up for speed. It was a good thing, too. I had told David that I expected to be in town between 3:00-4:00 pm, and I needed to crush some miles to make it on time. There were even some nice views along the way, especially Angels Rest, and I managed to stop briefly to take pictures.
As I started my descent to Pearisburg, I realized I was going to arrive about 45 minutes ahead of schedule. About ten minutes before I reached the trailhead, it started to pour down rain, and the trail became very slick. As I approached the road, another hiker who was waiting for her ride told me that my chariot awaited me. There was Trail Angel David, parked right at the trailhead, and he quickly got me into the warmth of his dry truck and whisked me away to town.
David took me to my motel, where I got a quick shower and put on my least stinky clothes (I’m certain I smelled worse than a wet puppy dog, and I hope David was able to eventually get the smell out of his truck). Now semi-clean, and feeling half human again, we went across the street where David treated me to a tasty Mexican meal.
It was extremely sweet of a David to drive nearly an hour and a half from his home in Beckley, WV to meet up with me on the trail. We had a great time catching up on the family news, and I really enjoyed visiting with him. Soon, however, it was time for him to head back home, so we said our goodbyes and he headed off. Thank you Trail Angel David for everything!
After the great reunion with my cousin, it was time to test the laundry facilities to see if it was possible to lower the smell of my clothing to an acceptable level. While waiting for the washing machine to finish its cycle, I ran into Muskrat and Marla who were staying in the room just above mine. Muskrat offered me a beer, which I gratefully accepted, and we sat and chatted while my laundry was processing.
Muskrat is an interesting character who is in the somewhat enviable position of being a completely unencumbered young man. He lived for a while in Hot Springs, where he did odd jobs until he could save enough money to hike the A.T. Prior to that, he worked as a machinist in Asheville. He owns nothing but his backpacking gear and his dog, so he is free to live life on his own terms. This year, he is only hiking as far as Harpers Ferry, and will try to finish the second half of the trail another year. Muskrat is a really nice kid, and I enjoyed getting to know him better. I hope to see him on the trail again soon.
After completing my laundry (my clothes smell so much better), I walked across the street to the Food Lion to pick up a few more items of food for the evening. It is time to get all my gear clean, dry, and packed, so that I can head out early for a long day tomorrow.