I love the white blazes of the AT. They are like little friends that remind you where you are, and reassure you that you’re not lost. Sometimes, however, we leave the safety and security of the AT to seek shelter, sanctuary, and warmth. We sought out Greasy Creek Friendly Hostel in hopes of finding soft dry, with an emphasis on dry, beds for the night. We read in the guide book that it was 0.6 miles off of the trail, and that the owner observes the sabbath and doesn’t do work after sundown on Friday. We called and the owner said as long as we were there before sundown that there wouldn’t be any trouble having us there for the night.
For some reason I’d assumed that the trail crossed a road and that we were going to walk 0.6 down a road to get to the hostel, however, the owner said that we were actually going to be following a ditch out of the back of a campsite away from the beloved AT and down to the hostel. Eventually we found the unmarked ditch and the scavenger hunt began!
As the ditch intersected other ditches and unkept logging roads, we knew which direction to go because of the arrows that people had made out of sticks to show us the way. Once we navigated the “trail/s”, we came upon the back of the house and started following signs that they’d put up around the property.
Since we were wet and soggy, we wanted to do a load of laundry to dry our socks and assorted other sopping wet cloths. Originally the owner had said that that would be fine and that she’d do it for us when she got home. Unfortunately she was running 3-4hrs late and would be racing against the sun to get home. Hoping to make her life easier, I called her on the black phone (the one that you could dial from, but that wouldn’t ring), to ask if I could start the laundry. She didn’t feel comfortable with that, so the race was on… The hostel lady vs. the subset.
A couple hours later she called back (on the yellow phone that rings, but doesn’t dial) to check and see how we are doing. Eventually, she got home. It was about 15 minutes before sundown and she was clearly frazzled.
She realized that she wouldn’t have time to do the laundry, but decided that if she watched me and told me what to do, I could do the laundry since she’d be able to oversee the process. We had to hurry, however, to straighten out all the payments for our stay before the sun went down and the sabbath begin though.
Miraculously everything got done before the sun completely set. As advertised, the owner was incredibly friendly! She disappeared into the other room and poured a bunch of wine into an old little soda/tonic bottle, and then came into the room where I was organizing my pack to sing her Shabbat blessing and to keep me company. She then explained to me that she is a messianic Jew (which suddenly made all of the New Testament stuff around her house make more sense), and that neither the other Jews nor the Christians like of understand her religion.
Over the course of the next 4 hours she pretty much gave me her entire life story (I don’t think I managed to get more than one word into the conversation). Her neighbors apparently hate her… They think she is running a hiker scum brothel because they see her driving around a different young man every week (she offers hiker shuttle services). Her nearest neighbor, according to her, has been trying to sabotage her and her business… Taking a sledgehammer to her water reservoir, trying to run her down with his motorcycle, posting signs around the trail that say the hostel is actually closed etc. Apparently she has gone to court with him 5 times already. Other stories were about her ex-husband, her cat, and her financial woes (the fact the hostel makes $193 profit a year so she can’t get a loan).
Eventually the laundry finished and I ducked out to go to bed. Finding and staying at that hostel was definitely an adventure… I would say that it was a generally positive adventure and that there is no doubt that the Greasy Creek Friendly lives up to the friendly portion of it’s name!