Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wood's Hole

     I started back on the trail after laying up for a day with my dad.  The afternoon was very warm and humid and I was feeling pretty drained from my bout with stomach issues.  The trail climbed up a hill directly from the road crossing and then back down to a river valley.  For the next several miles the trail wound around the river crossing small little creeks along the way.  It would have been really easy walking if I was feeling a hundred percent, but I had to stop, sit down, rest and collect myself more times than I have ever had to.

    By mid afternoon I reached Wapiti shelter which was still along the river, but sat right at the base of a mountain that the trail went up.  I sat down and ate some food, contemplating whether or not to stay for the night or push six miles more to a hostel I had been hearing about for the last couple of days.  As the debate raged in my head I happened to read some paper left on the shelter floor from a previous hiker.  It was a photo copy from a guide book that gave some history about the shelter I was sitting in.  It said "Wapiti" was a native word for Elk and that the shelter used to be located further down the trail, but was moved when someone was murdered in it.   Hostel it is.

     Surprisingly, my body felt pretty good climbing up the side of the mountain.  No stomach pains, no fatigue.  I was sweating so much that it looked like someone threw a bucket of water on me, but that is normal.  Once the trail reached the top of the mountain it stayed up on the ridge.  I cruised along keeping one eye on the sun which was quickly heading for the horizon and another on storm that was moving my way.  I read in my guidebook that the hostel served a communal style dinner at seven thirty and judging how fast I was moving I would not be making it.  That was my motivation though.

     I made it to the driveway of Wood's Hole hostel shortly before sunset.  I walked towards the log cabin bunkhouse and was greeted by "LeeBob" and "Skunkape", two hikers I met weeks ago and haven't seen in a while.  They showed me around and told me there was no dinner tonight because the owners, Michael and Neville went into town for a friends birthday party.  I took a shower, hung my disgustingly sweaty clothes up to dry and got settled in for the night.  I actually didn't have much of an appetite and went to sleep without eating.

     When morning came at Wood's Hole I was awakened by the sound of a bell being rang and someone yelling "COFFEE".  I descended the ladder of the bunkhouse and made my way to the main cabin where fresh organic coffee was being served and breakfast was being cooked.  I sat around in a rocking chair and chatted with other hikers who were staying there until the bell was rang again announcing breakfast.  The meal that followed was an organic homemade schmorgasborg of goodness. It felt like I was eating my girlfriend Susie's cooking back in San Diego. Afterwards, I lazed away on a porch swing and drifted between sleep and relaxation for hours.

     I decided to stay another night just to make sure my stomach was fully recovered.  So I kept all my stuff in the bunkhouse and ordered a homemade vanilla ice cream shake.  It was huge.  When an afternoon thunder shower rolled through it felt good to be watching it from a porch swing nice and dry.  Throughout the day new hikers were coming in and it turned out to be quite a crowd for dinner.  We ate outside around the fire pit listening to the little frogs, called peepers, peeping to each other.

     When dinner ended we brought our dishes into the kitchen and then a few of us went back out to the fire.  Someone strummed away on a mandolin as we roasted marshmallows and donuts on the fire.

What a great end to a beautiful day.

     My second morning at Wood's Hole began the same way with a bell ringing and the shout of "COFFEE".  I had another amazing breakfast of fresh cinnamon rolls, sweet rice and fruit.  Then I got a massage that might have been the best of my life.  Afterwards, I helped Michael shovel manure into his new plant beds and then headed back out on the trail.

Frenchy, Skunkape and LeeBob
     I walked along the top of the ridge again in sweltering heat.  Not only was I drenched in sweat, but now I also smelled like hot manure, I was happy though.  Late in the day I came to the edge of the ridge line and began the descent into Pearisberg, Virginia where I was rendezvousing with my father again.  I ran into "LeeBob" and "Skunkape" on the way down and we talked about what an refreshing stay we had at Wood's Hole.

      What an amazing little sanctuary tucked away in the depths of the forest.



  1. Frank, Rita and I are camped on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The Tin House is not too shabby. We used to sleep in a tent all the time. Stay well.

  2. I love your comments about Susie. Very heart warming there Mattie!
    And your writing is getting better and better...I do believe an author has been born on the Appalachian Trail!
    Big hug from Ollie and I!

  3. Ive never had doughnuts on a stick, I bet it's great. Great story telling Frenchy.

  4. That mandalin reminded me of your grandfather. Did you get any toothpaste yet?

    1. I've had toothpaste the whole time, I was only playing when I said I was brushing with sugar. Love ya Mom

  5. I used to work with Susie at UCSD before I moved back to Ohio, and she sent me your blog....I'm having a blast catching up and can't wait to read the rest. You're amazing!

    1. Thanks Sharon, it really makes me happy that you are enjoying this :)