Our 1st visit. I flew out 1st thing in the morning to Raleigh, NC and drove about 4 1/2hrs to meet him. I met Ponytail at Sicily's Pizza Pub in Damascus, VA. We were both so excited to see each other. He looked great!
Got to meet some of his new hiker friends as they were anxious to meet me as I was to meet them. They had heard all about me. Sat and chatted for a bit before we took off.
We went back to the hostel "The Place" so I could see what it looked like, meet some more friends and so that Dave could get his gear. Well, it was a clean place. Bunks made of plywood. No mattresses. Everyone was to use their own pads and sleeping bags. There were clean towels (Dave did the laundry - as those who stay there are asked to pitch in on chores). Showers,bathrooms, flush toilets and toilet paper. This is a privilege because out on the trail the privies are similar to pit toilets. There are screens full of leaves(no, not to wipe with)to throw in to feed the toilet to help it compost when you are done your business. Rubbers hoses to help disburse the gases. Not much privacy either - most privies don't have 4 walls or even 4 tarps and there are some they you can wave to passing hikers (just your middle is covered. I also learned that there are 2 kinds of privies. One kind is you can do #2 in but not #1 and then there are privies where you can do #1 and #2. So, having a flush toilet where you can just do everything at one time is grand.