A Blog Post in Two Acts

Act I: Woods Hole and Pearisburg – A Comparison

Last week we had planned to camp a few miles outside of Pearisburg, VA and hike in the next morning for hot coffee before settling in to a motel for resupply and recuperation.

A brief moment with cell service yielded two critical pieces of information: one, the dog-friendly motel at which we had intended to stay (and had sent our maildrop to…) was completely booked and, two, the forecast called for a day long deluge.

We were lucky enough to have a highly praised hostel just seven miles away and opted to hike a half day and stay relatively dry–resupply would have to wait for a few days.

Our stays at Woods Hole and in Pearisburg were worlds apart, though only ten miles separated the two. The comparison:

The Approach

-Seven dismal, soaking miles to Woods Hole with a final ascent on trail that had recently transitioned to an impromptu stream.

-Ten lovely, sunny miles to Pearisburg with a descent marked by Angel’s Rest, a rock outcropping looking over Pearisburg.

Travis and a fellow thruhiker on Angel’s Rest

The Lodging

-Woods Hole is a homestead deep in the woods featuring raised beds, an enormous brick oven out back, and a barn with mattresses for those staying the night.

The main house, plus Willett and his best-friend-for-a-day, Amicua


-The Holiday Motor Lodge in Pearisburg was rumored to have had a few unsavory residents and a number of the bulbs in our room had been removed (to what end, we can only imagine…). Upon turning down the sheets we were rather dismayed to find crumbs and hairs that certainly did not belong to us. Luckily, we travel fully equipped and hopped into our sleeping bag.

The Nourishment

-While we couldn’t resupply or consume vast amounts of “town food” at Woods Hole, we did end up wonderfully well fed. Neville, the wife in the husband/wife duo running the hostel, cooks a family style dinner and breakfast for guests each day. Her kitchen is a wonderful sight, filled with everything from last season’s pickled peppers in mason jars to gallon jugs of soy sauce and mayonnaise. She managed to whip up a formidable stack of homemade tortillas while also doing guests’ laundry, directing volunteers in the hostel’s daily chores, and pointing Travis to the necessary ingredients for a batch of blueberry crumb bars he had eagerly volunteered to bake. Neville then turned that stack of tortillas into enchiladas made with beef from a neighbor’s cow. We were both thrilled to get some time in a proper kitchen and it was a pleasure to see the hostel in full swing.

-While much less enchanting, Pearisburg offered a variety of tastes we had long been missing. It was the first proper grocery we had been to in ages so our resupply was much more nutritious and delicious than some of those previously referenced… For dinner, we bought a roast chicken from the supermarket, microwaved two sweet potatoes, and enjoyed an abundant array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Delightful and much needed.

Act II: Captioned Photos

Ickit! This is why Travis walks first…

Quite the scat… Can anyone offer any clues as to what ate what??

Keffer Oak Tree > me (and 18′ around and 300 years old)

Virginia is wrinkly!

Dragon’s Tooth. At one point during our descent the rocks were so steep we had to pick Willett up by the handle on his backpack (as if he were a briefcase) and lower him down lest he tumble down head over fluffy ‘tocks.


Approaching McAfee Knob–we had a spectacular day of weather and hit the knob as the sun began to set

Boys on the knob

More knob–nice t-shirt tan coming along…

Descending through the rocks. The whole area was covered with blueberry bushes!

I say “Aw! Cute orange creature!” Travis says “Red eft stage of newt.” Potayto, potahto.

About real.pretty.food

After five months of Snickers Bars and couscous, eating all the meat and vegetables I can get my hands on...
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6 Responses to A Blog Post in Two Acts

  1. Helen says:

    Ah, the red eft is cute, and the snake is beautiful. I think it’s a black rat snake. What an intriguing scat! I am imaging it as the cast pellet of a bald eagle that had eaten a fox. Was the clawed creature big enough to be a fox?

    • We actually see this type of scat very frequently, right on the trail. Usually it is just fur; this is the first we’ve seen with claws. Could they all be made by eagles? We thought it must be another mammal.

  2. Sydney says:

    I hate to say it, but those claws in the scat look more feline than canine to me.

    • We didn’t think to put something in the shot for scale. The claws were maybe 3/4 of an inch long, but we don’t know enough to say if it was a fox or a bobcat or something else altogether.

  3. John Chandler says:

    We are headed to Southern VA for a canoe trip on Saturday the 30th. The outfitter is in Buchanan VA, which is close to the trail. Do you all want us to bring you anything and leave it at a drop for you?

    • Hey John, thanks for the offer! We would love to take you up on it, but my dad is already meeting us on Saturday in Waynesboro, somewhat north of Buchanan. Have fun canoeing!

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