Friday, May 13, 2016 10:53 pm
Location: Narrows Rd / Pearisburg / Plaza Motel (635.1 miles)

The morning started off with a great homemade breakfast at Woods Hole. The only thing disappointing about it was that there were help-yourself seconds available that I didn't notice until after I had put my plate in the dishwasher.

In spite of my complaints yesterday that there was a fair amount of disorganization, I do want to reiterate that Woods Hole is still very nice, and the people running it do seem to care. So I'd still recommend the place.

Before leaving, I noticed that they had a cuckoo clock on the wall, the same kind that my mom's parents used to have.

Orange Juice AT
Orange Juice AT
Antique Cuckoo  Clock
Antique Cuckoo  Clock

With the breakfast, I didn't manage to leave until 10 am, a rather late start to the day. As with yesterday, the trail felt pretty deserted. I think I only counted four people (all SOBO) on the trail today.

Except for the fact that parts of the trail were very muddy, it was an easy day. There was a view or two at power line crossings, but the best view of the day came about three miles before Pearisburg, as the trail jogged over to a rock outcropping overlooking the valley. Somewhat tired from the late night last night (didn't get to bed until after 11 pm), I lingered there for a good while before descending the mountain, on very muddy and slippery terrain.

View of Southern Outskirts of Pearisburg
View of Southern Outskirts of Pearisburg

As I got close to Pearisburg, the trail appeared to diverge somewhat from what's indicated in the guidebook; it seems to have skipped one road intersection and instead jogged somewhat further west, away from the town. This seems to have lengthened the trail somewhat as well; it will be interesting to see what the mileage count for the year is revised to.

Win the help of a shuttle from local Tom Hoffman, I made it to the Plaza Motel, where Beast was staying. The motel is conveniently located next to a Dairy Queen, Hardees, the Mexican restaurant we were at last night, and a shopping center with a Food Lion.

Beast is doing well; at least, as well as can be expected with a broken toe. Over the last couple of days, he's also dealt with equipment malfunctions of his own: one of his trekking poles broke, and he had to get a replacement, which was more difficult than it should have been. (Apparently, REI does not like to honor their one-year guarantee for thru-hikers, as we put "excessive" wear-and-tear on equipment.) He also tried on a new pair of shoes, that unfortunately didn't fit; he has another pair coming to an outfitter in Roanoke, our next destination, that hopefully should.

After a quick (ha ha, as if) shower, in honestly what was the best shower unit in a motel so far, we went to Dairy Queen for a meal, and then walked to Walmart for resupply.

An aside on the shower: there was hot water, and plenty of it; the shower was very brightly lit; the shower/tub floor was rubberized and grippy; and there was a grab bar on the wall. The only complaint I have is that the shower head could have been a little higher up and come a little further out from the wall. Otherwise, as I said, it was the best shower I've been in on the trail so far.

The walk to Walmart was somewhat longer than ideal (we were both sweating to various degrees by the time we got there, and Beast stood in the ice cream freezer/display for a few minutes to cool down.

We attempted to get a shuttle back to the motel (walking all the way back with our groceries would have been highly undesirable), but failed. (Mr. Hoffman was having phone difficulties with his cordless phone and couldn't understand anything either Beast or I was saying, and the other shuttle driver listed in the guidebook was out of town for the weekend.)

As we prepared to walk back, Beast spotted someone who had just finished loading up her car with a Virginia Tech sticker on it, and decided to ask her. (Beast is a VT alum.) Fortunately for us, she happily gave us a ride back, and even refused payment when Beast tried to give her some money when we arrived.

Back at the motel, I took a short nap, and Beast ran over to the Food Lion to pick up some things he forgot to buy at Walmart, and then swung by the DQ to pick up dinner for him and a banana split for me (my third in two days).

We packed our packs, which took forever because we were continuously distracted by the drivel on the tv, and didn't get to sleep until after 11 pm, another very late night for me.