My base of operations shifted today, approximately 35 miles south to just outside Front Royal. Unfortunately, the weather has not shifted – it has been raining pretty constantly for over 24 hours now. The wind has dropped, but the rain continues to beat on the windows.
Today, after being dropped off at the Mountain Home Cabbin Hostel, I dumped my stuff and went into the city to get maildrops and to play tourist for a while. Also, cheeseburger. This is a town rich in Civil War history, much as Harper’s Ferry was; Stonewall Jackson once fought and won a battle here, and the street names and historic signs tell the tale. I walked through many of the shops in the old town, along Main Street. Spent some time at the library. Ducked into a bookstore and bought an old book on Betsy Ross to be shipped home – this was a very classy used books bookstore, not the average run of the mill!
The hostel where I am staying is incredibly unique. Listed on the Register of Historic Places, it was a 2,000 acre plantation during the Civil War. It breathes history. It is not 2000 acres now, of course, but several of the old buildings remain. The red brick “Cabbin” building serving as the hostel used to be slave quarters. The owners, Scott and Lisa, are doing extensive, major repairs and renovations to the main house, to turn it into a bed and breakfast. She gave me a tour of it, pointing out both the history and purpose for each room, and what they were going to use the room for. It was fascinating! My mother would have loved it. The original part from the 1700’s, then the house as it was just before the Civil War, then the additions built onto the house just after the Civil War, and finally the renovations of today, you could clearly see the demarcation points.
Tomorrow, regardless of weather, I hike – after a breakfast of French Toast and coffee! A shuttle driver will drop me back off at Ashby Gap, 20 miles back, and I will hike south. I am hoping to make all 20 miles tomorrow, but if I cannot, there are multiple road crossings where I can stop and call for a shuttle. Either way, I will end up back here again tomorrow night. And then figure out what happens next day. And so on. I can’t deny that I’m not too happy about all the slackpacking shuttling around, and hostel stays, but with the weather and the rib, it’s likely for the best.
I hike on!