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:
-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.
-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 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.
-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
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.