When we started our hike we had different ideas about how often we would stay in hotels and hostels. The reality has been not what either of us visualized and continues to evolve as the needs change with the conditions we experience.
Some hikers take every possible chance to go into town. Others seem to adhere to the opposite end of the spectrum and slip in for resupply then fade back out to the trail without delay. I have seen people take food from hiker boxes just to avoid going to town. We have done it as well – a hiker got a huge maildrop from his aunt at Ironmaster’s and couldn’t hold onto it since A) It was too much for him for 2 weeks and B) He had just resupplied. We pulled oatmeal, candy, toilet paper and other items out right after he put them in. I found a new candy: Hi-chew. Haven’t seen it in stores but will buy some if I do. Sort of like taffy but easier to chew and tastier. Also packaged in the right size to eat while hiking.
Our historical trend towards towns has been for two of Maslow’s necessities: food and shelter. We have to eat (lots) and when we are sodden from rain we want to get indoors and get dried out. Otherwise we have not wasted good hiking time lollygagging around in town.
Lately a new opportunity has arisen though. Hiking the right amount of miles means that we spend the night in a bed, of sorts, and then get up and make good miles and wind up at another bed. Where there are beds there are also places that serve food that is not what we carry in our packs. Sometimes beer is available too. (We only drink it for the calories – no light beer for us. Right.)
When we left Shenandoah it was on a slackpack through Terrapin hostel. After only being out a night that put us into Bear’s Den. After only a couple of nights out we hit Ironmaster’s. After a night out from there we stayed in a Hampton in Carlisle. The next night we made it to the Doyle. After two nights out we are in a Comfort Inn where we are staying again for our first zero day in a long while.
Hiking from one source of hospitality to the next is very convenient. We’ve had lunches that we carried out on the trail as well as lighter packs and of course ample opportunity to shower. With the uptick in the temperature lately this is all in all very convenient. Especially when you hike all day and can then get a beer. Mmmm, beer. Did I mention beer?
We are taking in the brewery tour at Yeungling in Pottsville tomorrow morning. In order to do this we are renting a car and then we will get a late start on the trail afterwards. (Oh no! We will be LATE for hiking! It really is a big change from our previous lifestyles to be able to rewrite the schedule however we want whenever we want. There’s some lingering feeling of Taboo but it’s fading.)