With it looking like fairly easy terrain heading into Harper's Ferry, and not having had a break in the two weeks I've been back, I decided to take the day off today. I stayed at the Grace Lutheran Church hostel last night and am back again for a second night tonight. It really has felt like home, coming from a Lutheran family myself. It's been nice to kick off my trail runners for a little and watch the NBA Finals and take multiple showers a day in what has been without a doubt the best shower on the trail so far. A thru-hiker's main objective is to hike a whole bunch, so what does a hiker do on his day off? Well for one, as little walking as possible.
Mtn Dew and I began our day off, walking the quarter-mile to the Laundrymat, which was about as far as I wanted to walk today. I think thru-hikers are a pretty lazy bunch, I know I am at least, despite this whole walking to Maine thing. Get me off the trail and I don't want to walk at all. So, we finished with laundry and walked back to the Main Street with our thumbs out, looking for a hitch to the movie theater in town. There's a 'Trail Angel Network', a list of numbers to call for rides to and from the trail in Waynesboro, but something told me a ride to the movies wasn't going to cut it. So we spent a half hour trying to get a ride with no luck. I had the brilliant idea to ask people coming out of Kroger how far it was to the theater, knowing it was further than I wanted to walk, but hoping someone would give us a ride. I guess my chi was off because we helped a couple old ladies with their groceries and chatted with another couple of people, and no one offered a ride. We walked back up to the Main St. for a last effort and sure enough, an incredibly generous elementary school art teacher stopped to pick us up. We went to see Hangover 2, which was OK, and got a hitch almost immediately after the movie. We had hitched in the middle of town to the movies and back - I now consider myself a hitching professional, a conqueror of any hitching situation, a real lazy, appreciative hiker on his day off.
After the movie, I sat in more air conditioning at the library again, and then went to eat at Ming Garden Chinese Buffet for a second time. It was better than the first because my stomach was more experienced, and I knew to take my time. Plus, the "hiker hunger" wasn't quite as strong as yesterday, so I didn't gorge myself with as many different types of chicken on a plate in 5 minutes within sitting down. I stuck to one chicken this time - General Tso's, and I bypassed the iffy dumplings, the Hunan chicken, the Hunan beef (not very good Hunan, or maybe I was just disgusted because I misread it at first) and the pizza slices (yes the Chinese Buffet had pizza, too). So the meal all went down a lot better and it didn't take hours and several bathroom visits to digest this time.
Since dinner, I've done nothing but lounge on a couch watching television and surfing the internet. Tomorrow I'm back to hiking 20 miles in a day, over mountains, in supposed highs of 98 degrees, but for now doing nothing feels great.