Appalachian Trail Mile 635.4

Friday, June 16, 2017 (Day 44)

I passed by the cemetary trail junction and began to cross a bridge over New River along US Route 46. I hesitated. I had rushed in to and back out of town in a hurry. I enjoyed Pearisburg, and it housed many resources that I would not have access to for over 150 miles (namely, a libray). I decided to do one of my least favorite things in existence: back-track. Thankfully, I had not travelled far…less than a mile.

I walked down VA Route 100 with plans of spending time in the library. I was not sure precisely where the library was, but I was not concerned. After waliking a short distance I began sticking out my thumb. It was not long before a sweet elderly couple picked me up and dropped me off at the library steps.

I spent much time there writing and reviewing photos and planning upcoming stretches of trail. As I was leaving, a lady in a pick-up truck offered me a ride and told me of a community picnic held by the Christ Episcopal Church. She mentioned that they even let hikers stay the night in the church basement. She dropped me off at the Pizza Hut where I ate unlimited salad and utilized even more wifi. I considered her invitation. Any opportunity to integrate in to the community is valuable.

I walked down to the little church. I received a very warm greeting. The picnic was just wrapping up, and they apologized for not having food left. I told them that I was mainly there to socialize, and to inquire about a place to sleep for the night. They told me I was very welcome. I was shown inside, dropped my pack, then came back out to sit on the benches and chat. I was told of how the church does its best to be involved with the community. They hold the picnics annually, and maintain a community garden where people of the town are able to come pick whatever they would like, free of charge. It was not long before everyone headed home. I was told to help myself to whatever I would like in the refrigerator, and to make myself comfortable. With that, I was left to my own devices.

I took a moment to walk the surrounding area of town. I took note of the murals and their themes.

One side of the church basement had shelves of toys and books and mats and a short wooden table. It was a place for Sunday School for children. The other half had a full kitchen and a bathroom and a small office and what appeared to be space for meetings.

I could not believe I had all this space and comfort for the night. I was touched by their kindness and hospitality. I unfolded a cushion and flipped through a book on Christian symbolism before drifting in to sleep.

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