Day 90 – June 5 – 19.4 miles – Sam Moore Shelter to Mile Marker 1019.6
Three miles into the day we came to a side trail that led to the Bears Den Hostel. We decided to check it out. At the end of the side trail was a nice manicured property with a large stone building on the grounds. We though we might be in the wrong place. The guidebook said the entrance to the hostel was around the back of the building. So we thought, “What the heck, we’ll check around the back of the building. If it’s the wrong place we’ll just leave.”
When we got to the back entrance the door was locked. There was a little sign on the window. It asked what the mileage was at so-and-so and to enter it on the key pad on the door. We looked up the mileage in the guidebook and punched it in. The door opened and we were in.
The sign that greeted us made us regret not walking the extra three miles to get there last night. Bunk, Shower, Soda,Pizza, Ben +Jerry’s, and laundry for 30$. What a mistake we made!
The place was empty. All the hikers had already left for the day and the caretaker was nowhere to be seen. There was a sign on a mini fridge that let us know that there was soda available for purchase. Stoat and I both grabbed one and sat on a couch for a few minutes.
The caretaker came in holding cleaning supplies. He said a quick hello and went to clean the bathroom. He came out a few minutes later holding a bathroom scale and asked if we wanted to check our weight.
When I got on I got a big surprise. Before I started the trail I was somewhere around 175 pounds. When I weighed myself in Damascus I weighed 158 pounds. Now I was 151.8 pounds. Stoats weight loss was about the same or even a little more than mine. We both felt fine, but we would have to be careful. We heard several stories of hikers getting off trail because they lost too much weight.
When we got back on trail we had a nice view off into the distance. We kept trying to figure out if we were looking at Virginia or West Virginia. I don’t think we ever came up with an answer.
A few miles later we came to the VA / WV state line. So, we stopped and took a picture.
What the sign didn’t tell us, was that the AT began following the state line at that point. Not crossing it. That led to a little confusion.
Soon we came to another view. We stopped for a minute and it began to rain. Hiking in the rain actually felt good compared to the humidity that we had had for the last few days.
The rain felt good for a while until it was time to eat lunch. Sitting in the rain eating soggy food can put a damper on the day. While we were eating lunch a tall, older hiker stopped to chat for a moment. His name was Mr. Tom and he had a wicked New England accent.
After lunch, the trail flattened out a bit and we were able to crank out the miles. About two miles from where we were going to camp we came to a road crossing. One side of the road had a sign said welcome to Virginia, while a sign in the other side of the road said welcome to West Virginia. We were a little confused because we thought we already crossed the state line. What we weren’t confused about was what we were eating for dinner. There was a pizza place 0.2 miles down the road into West Virginia and we headed over to it.
The pizza place was more of a dive bar that also sold pizza. It didn’t really matter to us what the place looked like as long as the food was good. We sat at the bar and ate a big meal. There wasn’t anyone else in the place. It was just us and the bartender.
After we left the bar we decided to pick up some snacks at the convince store next to the bar. We sat on the sidewalk and had second dinner. While we were finishing up Mr. Tom walked up. We let him the know the food tasted a lot better than the bar looked, and he went inside.
We decided we should probably get back to hiking and headed back to the trail. When crossing the road we found it difficult to judge how fast the cars were going. There were several times where we had plenty of time to cross and didn’t. I guess experiencing life at 3 mph was beginning to have an effect on us.
When we got to the campsite Scarecrow was setup there. It was good to see him and we caught up a little. As Stoat and I setup, Rockstar and Steam Machine showed up. Mt. Tom got there a little later and then small campsite was full.
All the talk around camp was about Harpers Ferry. It was billed as the emotional halfway point of the trail. We would be there in the morning and everyone was excited.