10-6-09 day 126
start: Knot Maul Branch Shelter, VA
end: Rural Retreat Historical Society Hostel @ Rural Retreat, VA
daily mileage: 14.0
total mileage: 1640.0
We met Quiddam in the morning when we awoke. He was an odd fellow, no doubt, but perhaps not deserving of the vast infamy he's accrued on the trail. He just sat and stared at us as we packed up, and answered questions when we asked them though he didn't talk otherwise. Odd, but certainly not frightening or anything like that.
We got out quickly and hiked with Icarus all day through cow pastures. We stopped in a beautiful little Rhodadendron grove for lunch, and met some bow hunters looking for deer. Icarus showed us his neat homemade wood burning stove that he cooks with, something of a novelty on the trail. We decided to stay at a free hostel in the town of Rural Retreat, a 6 mile hitch east from the trailhead. Unfortunately, this town was so tiny that there is no grocery store, so we had to start by hitching 10 miles west into the grocery store. We got picked up by some VERY weird ol' country boys who were barely comprehensible - some combination of the intense southern accent, the 50 years of tobacco / marijuanna damage their throats had each sustained, and probably generations of intensely un-biblical inbreeding. After politely refusing their offer to drive us to "the local whore-house" we were dropped off at the grocery. We grabbed some (lots of) spaghetti for dinner and biscuits and gravy for breakfast at the hostel.
We got our ride to the hostel from a super nice man who went way out of his way to take us there. The hostel was the coolest place ever... first of all, as the historical society of a tiny town like Rural Retreat, they needn't worry about capturing the vast range of important history the town embodies. No, Rural Retreat is known for one thing only - the Dr. Pepper was apparently born there (or lived there, or drove through there, or something). So the whole historical society building was decked out in Dr. Pepper stuff and the fridge was loaded with free Dr. Peppers. Secondly, they apparently put up student groups during the school year sometimes, so they had a full kitchen for our use, a huge bunkroom upstairs with heat, linens, and a shower! Third of all (and most importantly), there was a VCR and a ton of movies. So we went movie-crazy. In retrospect, we should have paced ourselves. But we sat down with our spaghetti and watched The Patriot, then An American Tale (yes, the cartoon about Fivel the mouse... Icarus went to bed in the middle of this one), and Dirty Dancing all in a row. Then Sea Monster went to bed and I stayed up to watch Garden State. At 3:00 I went to bed... but fear not, dear reader, we'll get some more movies in before we leave in the morning!