All along the trail, people open their homes and set up bunkhouses and B&B’s for thru hikers. Most are “primitive” as one owner mentioned, and others are more like quaint retreats. It rained a lot last week while Melynn was with me on the trail, so we stayed in three different ones during her adventure in the thru-hiker life.
Prices range from $5 to $30 for a spot in a bunkhouse or shared room, and usually include shower with towel and a “real” bathroom. Some include cereal breakfast, have a place to do laundry, and/or offer free shuttles to town.
Let me show you some of the differences and you can see how eclectic they are:
Mountain Crossings Hostel at Neal’s Gap less than 30 miles in the trail. Trail Angels came with dinner and the thunderstorm and cold were kept at bay… for us.
Top of Georgia is run by former thru hiker and they clean like maniacs. Bunkhouse was basic, but they had loaner clothes and washed your laundry for you.
We just had dinner at Standing Bear Hostel, as we wanted to put in more miles. It had pizza and beer and a little resupply place. Some hikers sleep in their tree house.
Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn is more of a retreat, with a few rules that made sense, like leaving boots on back porch, no cell phones in common areas, and sign up for dinner by 3 pm. The house smelled fantastic all afternoon as Elmer cooked for us. He’s also a former thru hiker. Dinner and breakfast were fabulous!!
Bob People’s is a former thru hiker and now trail volunteer. He runs Kincora Hostel and hikers make themselves at home whether or not he’s there when you arrive. It’s the first time I’ve gone inside and helped myself to clothes and a towel before showering in a stranger’s home when no one had been there to greet us. It was a very relaxed place.
CeeCee moved the tables in the top photo so seven people could sleep on the floor in a rainstorm. I was lucky and had a bed!
I camped at Boot’s Off Hostel, and still could use their shower, “privy”, kitchen, shuttle, and WiFi plus the cereal breakfast for $10. What a deal!
There are so many stories to tell about each one, the quirky owners of some, the rules, and adventures, but the trail waits and I need to hike on.