We're here. We've made it back to the trail and seen our first white blazes in over two months. Coming from the middle of heavily populated Long Island to scarcely populated Catawba is inspiring. Almost like we'd lost our way but now have found it again amongst the mountains and the forest.
Our drive down was fantastic. As we headed south along highway 81 we saw signs for Hershey, PA. We didn't pass up the opportunity. I snagged a Hershey Bears hat (my favorite AHL team which used to be affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche) and we headed over to Chocolate World. Smells exactly like you'd think it would. We didn't spend near as much time as we could have there but we did get to hop on the free virtual tour ride and snag a bag of the new pumpkin flavored kisses.
Last night we stayed in Winchester, VA, about three hours further down the road. I just want to rant-NEVER EVER EVER use Travelocity for anything! They didn't get our reservation to the hotel we were staying at and when we tried to cancel told us that we would be charged the full amount for canceling the day of our reservation. I spent the next hour arguing with an awful "customer service" rep who eventually agreed to just refund our money but couldn't send me a verification email that this is happening. I hope she was telling me the truth but I still have a feeling that the battle isn't over. Meanwhile the guy at the Red Roof Inn took awesome care of us and gave us a discount on our stay even though he had nothing to do with what had happened. So all in all still a good night, but boycott Travelocity whatever you do.
Now we're at Four Pines hiker hostel with the owner Joe who picked us up in Salem after returning our rental car. We're lucky again, to come back to the trail and find out that fall hasn't come yet. Some trees have started to turn but for the most part everything is still green. Seeing fall happen was on our most wanted list and it looks like we're still going to get it.
So here we sit. The night before returning to the trail and it's calm and beautiful. Minus the sounds of Joe's son's ATV it's completely still. Tomorrow we begin anew and are we ever ready!