It was a pure alignment of forces greater than I that I ended up there at the time I did in the shape I was in. I remember just the day before arriving at Woods Hole, walking over the high ridges and down to a crappy convenience store, I was saying to Movie Star that I didn't know what is was, but something needed to change. And the very next day, there was Neville, needing a hand at the hostel. At the time I was thinking I could stay for a month at most before needed to get back on the trail with enough time to finish and I was fearing it would take an entire month to make me want to get back on. Thankfully, it has been two weeks and now I have a newly invigorated excitement towards the trail. My body is rested and more importantly my heart and soul are ready to get back to hiking.
While on the farm I have met a ton of other hikers and seen so, so many hikers hikers that I was afraid I'd never see again. In just two weeks I have fallen into such a comfortable routine with my duties that I seem to have turned into a major authority around the hostel. In reality, I know no more than where the dishes go in the kitchen and where the shower and towels are in the bunkhouse. But still other hikers are looking towards me or Stephen, the farm intern, for help. This is funny because neither of us is a commander type. Stephen has been one of my favorite parts of the farm. He is there for 8 months as Micheal's farm hand and got the gig because he passed through during his 2011 thru hike. We have the same sense of humor and get along really well. He helped my transition into the busy hiker season at one of the AT's favorite hostels to be more smooth and enjoyable.
My duties start with the house, with rooms available to hikers, section hikers and other visitors, and they extend out into the hiker bunkhouse. The indoor rooms seem to mostly be occupied by older thru hikers (because they have money to spend) as well as the section hikers who want to revel in a bed for one last night before they set out on a hiking trip or family members of hikers who see no way in hell to sleep in a barn, on an old mattress, with smelly thru hikers. The younger crowd and many of the older crowd as well sleep out in the loft of an old barn with a common room below and a covered porch on the front. I make up the two rooms in the house every day if they were used and check through the bunkhouse to make sure it is in decent shape. I also help with all the meal prep and have even been the designated coffee roster for a while, a new trade my brother, an actual coffee roaster, would be proud I have picked up. There are also always a load of chores to do around the farm. I have painted countless wooden signs for around the farm. "Fresh Bread", "Please Limit Shower to 5 Minutes", "Trash or Can of Shame", "Recyclables", "Burnables". There also seems to always be weeding, up-planting, replanting or fertilizing that needs to be done in the gardens during the early spring.
As for the animals, besides the time I had to hold down a screaming and bleating goat while Stephen ripped open a wound on its face and flushed it out with iodine to keep away infection, I haven't had to experience the horrific side of farming. Many piglets have been born and only one was crushed by its momma. A couple of the ducklings died unexpectedly, but at least I will not have to participate in the castration of the pigs. I consider this a win.
I have been emailing Movie Star daily. I feel it will both be endearing and obnoxious to receive so many emails, particularly when they all only say one stupid, little thought. Thus is our style of communication, endearing and obnoxious things thrown at one another. He sent a letter, taking advantage of the fact that I was at a single address for a while and one day he called and I was able to speak to both him and Maineiac for a while when they were in Daleville. Maineiac's birthday was just a few days ago and I am I sad I was not able to help usher him out of his teenage years and into his 20's. I am hoping I quickly find hikers of their caliber once again as I begin hiking.
Lastly, this weekend was Mother's Day and I was lucky enough to spend it with my mom!!! She said she wanted to take advantage of me staying in once place for an extended time so she made the trek up to Woods Hole from GA. Neville gave us a ride into town and we slackpacked (hiking the AT with out your full pack) from Pearisburg back to the hostel. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful stretch of trail with many views. It really got me excited to be back in the woods!
Guinea Hens, they look cool but they are ridiculously noisy.
A baby pig. Its cute now but it won't be for long. If it stay cross eyed that may help though.
Chickens are alright until they lay an egg on a counter and knock it off and break it or until they poop in your shoe. Chicken shit in your show at night after you meditate is a real chi killer.
Scottish Highland Cattle are beautiful. They are scary looking when out of the fence just because they're big and have horns but they're very sweet.
The ducklings! They are still living in the bath tub until theyr get big enough to be outside.
The common area of the hiker bunkhouse.
The loft part of the barn is where the beds are.
Cool lighting in the bunkhouse.
Canning stash in the main house.
Wood stove in the kitchen. Cool looking but thankfully its not what we use to cook for 20 people every night.
The old time kitchen with modern appliances. Perfect! haha.
One of two huge space racks in the kitchen.
Last but not least, Stephen feeding Rogo the goat by bottle. Ro was born too early and now he is very attached to Stephen's daily bottle feeding. He holds Ro in his arms like a puppy and Ro wraps his neck around Stephen's. They're best friends.
If you ever need a mountain get away, a good place to start or end a section hike, or a planning to ever hike the AT, check out Woods Hole Hostel at www.woodsholehostel.com