Day 104: Mile 1003.2 | Bear’s Den
I woke up that morning with every intention to head back out into the rain. I groggily rolled over on my bunk and hopped down to the floor. I slowly packed and went out into the dining room. Some hikers pointed me toward some pancakes you can make yourself in the kitchen. The hiker special just kept getting better!
I went into the kitchen and Knots offered to make pancakes for Miles and myself! I got a cup of coffee while I waited. I set up at one of the tables in the dining room and then went and got some maple syrup I’d been carrying around just for this sort of occasion (thanks, Mom)! We ate breakfast quietly as we looked out at the pouring rain. I looked at Miles tiredly and said, “I really don’t want to go back out there.” He shook his head and said, “Me neither.” I asked, “What if just one of us gets the hiker special tonight and we share the food, that way it would be cheaper?” He laughed, “You’re always thinking of something!” We finished our breakfast and made the final decision to stay another night.
Glenn, the caretaker set us up downstairs in the hiker lounge at two bunks. I noticed in between two sets of bunks was a computer! Glenn said we could use it but the internet is spotty during storms. I got another cup of coffee before he closed the kitchen and started blogging. I blogged for hours, updated my gear page, and finished 3 new posts. Around noon Miles came in and told me they were giving out free Subway sandwiches outside for some event! We went out and talked to the volunteers at the event and ate sandwiches. The free lunch was a nice surprise! After lunch, I took a nap. Miles played online chess while I slept.
It felt so good to have dry skin for a day. No salt chafe to bother me. No wet clothes and mildew smelling pack. It was nice to look outside at the rain while staying dry.
I slept on and off for a few hours until 6pm. Around then, we went upstairs to get our pizza and ice cream. There was a lot of history in this place. We played a game of chess on the hostel’s larger chess board. Water Boy and Thumper were there along with Spoons, Stellar, and Battle Lion!
I was in bed by 9pm, happily dry.
Day 105: Mile 1003.2 | Bear’s Den
Yeah, you read that right. We stayed one more night. It was still raining! Pouring! I wanted to be the old man snoring! Hahaha okay but for real, we took another zero. It was a good deal for the price and we didn’t feel like getting wet. We hung out with Water Boy and Thumper watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and Airplane on the hostel TV. I got some more blogging done. I took another nap. I rejoiced in the dry skin. Leftover Subway sandwiches were eaten.
We had another pizza and pint. Butterknife caught up to us! We found out that she’s been dating Heatburn (another thru-hiker), but he got off trail and he couldn’t keep up with her. They left at Harper’s Ferry to go on an RV adventure out West! We met Textbook who played Miles in chess. We slept well another night.
Day 106: Mile 1019.0 | Stealth Camp in West Virginia
We crossed the West Virginia border in the morning:
There were not water sources listed during the miles we were planning on doing that day so we decided to stop at a gas station listed that was 0.3 miles off trail. The terrain for the day was a lovely ridge walk with an occasional mid patch. When we arrived at the gas station I got water, macaroni salad, chips, and a candy bar. It was sunny most of the day.
At a road crossing we saw Babaganoush (the second one I met) who was going into DC to see his friends. We made it to a campsite not long after that and set up early. I climbed into Miles’ tent and we realized I had a full 4 bars of LTE service on my phone. We’d been talking for weeks about this movie: Grizzly Man. Miles had watched it before he left and said I just had to see it. We had plenty of time and good service so we decided, against our usual no Netflix policy to watch it. It wasn’t on Netflix so we rented it on Amazon for a dollar.
We watched Grizzly Man with gripping attention while we ate the rest of our gas station snacks. We went to bed early in our separate tents after that.
Sometime around 10pm some other hikers noisily set up camp just out of sight of ours. I heard their laughter from afar on a creepy echo and it kind of freaked me out. I heard loud, branch breaking footsteps shortly after the laughter and got nervous. I unzipped my tent and shined my headlamp out into the woods around us. Honestly I was mostly afraid I’d see another person, for some reason. All I saw was a nice Doe staring back at me. Deer are always finding me out here! I told her she was a pretty lady and got back into my tent, ready to sleep.