Day 49, 700 miles, 7 weeks

It’s been a fun, but hard and receptionless past few days. Before I left woods hole a few friends pointed out that if we pushed really big miles (30, then 25 the next day) we could make it to the famed homeplace restaurant before they close. The homeplace is generally regarded as one of the best restaurants on the trail, but is only open thursday thru Sunday. I decided it sounded like a fun and worthwhile goal, so agreed to push the big miles. First though I had to make it the ten to Pearisburg, then the 6 miles past to the first shelter.

Once I got to Pearisburg I bumped into a whole group of people who I was hiking with not too long before, but who were going a bit faster. They decided to zero, so I was able to catch up with them. They had independently concocted their own, slightly different, plan to get to homeplace by Sunday, so we decided to wait for them and all hike together.

The company has been great, it’s nice hiking with a whole group of people I like a lot. I haven’t really hiked with a whole group since the beginning of the trip. But it’s definitely been a big change from the solitary hiking of the past weeks. I’ve been playing leapfrog all day every day.

Anyways, we made it! It took a 23 mile day, then a 27 (my biggest yet), then a 17 (which I did in just over 6 hours, which makes it my fastest stretch yet), but we made it in time. The hard miles were hard, but very rewarding and I’m proud of my distance and pace.

The homeplace started as a mainly arbitrary goal, but oh man was it worth it. The food was incredible. For 15 dollars each it was all you can eat homestyle cooking. Fried chicken (which I never eat in the real world but was delicious), ham, potatoes, greens, biscuits, coleslaw. Each time we emptied a plate it would be quickly refilled. Before I knew it I had eaten four whole plates worth. Then was the all you can eat desert of delicious peach cobbler with icecream. So so good. By the time I was done I actually thought I wouldn’t be able to keep it all down I ate so much. Everyone else felt similarly so it took us a good forty minutes to leave the table.

Tonight I’m staying in a donation only hostel that is really just a three car garage. The owner has put a few cots and couches in it, but most of us are sleeping on the floor. He’s a really nice guy, very helpful, and it’s a great place to spend the night.

Tomorrow is supposed to be miserable, 40 degrees and sleeting, so I might zero, or just do a few miles of slack packing (hiking where a hostel shuttles you up the trail a ways, without a pack, and then you hike back to the hostel).

In other news I just purchased a new summer quilt thanks to a crazy 50% off sale on, which I’m pretty pumped about. It will definitely feel good to shave another pound and a half off. Also got some running shorts to try. Now just to figure out what to do about my pack…

Finally, I’m just about at the 700 mile mark. This one definitely feels like a milestone. So close to the halfway point of harper’s ferry at mile 1000 (or at least it feels that way).

More when I can. Onwards!


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