Pearisburg, VA – Mile 174
My husband and I met Nick near Pearisburg (population 2800) on August 1. After 174 miles of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Nick needed a hot shower. I booked us into the Woods Hole Hostel, located only ½ mile off the trail in a remote mountain area. Nick stayed in the bunk room for $15 a night (mattresses available on first come, first served basis). Fortunately the hostel offers a REAL room for those less hardcore visitors ($75 per night with breakfast). The owners are trying to live off the land so the vegetables, eggs and meat come from their farm. Their cat is living off the land too, appearing at breakfast one morning proudly mouthing a dead chipmunk. (“You don’t see that at Holiday Inn Express,” I whispered to my husband after we all held hands and gave thanks for life’s blessings.)
Another guest, Pace Maker, joined us. Anyone hiking the AT earns a trail name. Pace Maker is an obvious choice for a grandfather who has suffered 3 heart attacks. Pace Maker, like Nick, is a sectional hiker, someone who is doing different parts of the trail at different times rather than hiking the entire 2000 miles in one outing. Nick hiked a while with High Roller, a hiker who found a poker token on the trail. Nick has yet to accept a trail name although other hikers have suggested Connoisseur because of his meal choices and Sleepy because he dozes late into the morning.
Nick was already at the hostel when we arrived. Nick texted earlier in the week telling us to be sure to bring two essential items from home: toe nail clippers and his harmonica. On Saturday we travelled to Blacksburg, a 40 minute drive, to see the town, visit a local trail outfitters and buy food at Walmart. Nick decided to buy a sleeping bag because it was much colder at night than he expected.
After spending $80.00 on food supplies (more tuna, chicken chunk packets, nectarines, dried fruits , instant oatmeal and other assorted delectable), we returned to the hostel, Late Sunday morning , Nick (aka Sleepy Connoisseur) returned to the trail with his 50 pound backpack, new sleeping bag and freshly clipped toe nails.
Ron and I drove home. We will meet Nick again in 10 days around Buchanan, Virginia at mile 278. This will mark the half-way point of his trek.