I’ve been sucked into the Damascus Vortex

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Crazy Larry in his messy but clean kitchen.
Crazy Larry in his messy but clean kitchen.

Locals have assured me this is a real phenomenon. Hikes have a hard time leaving this trail town. You’ll find the at the Mt Rogers Outfitters where I just bought new shoes. You’ll find the driving shuttles, like Gypsy Dave, who will be taking me back to Elk Garden. Paul hiked the trail a few years back and he and his wife now own Hikers Inn. Lone Wolf has hiked 16 times, but now works for the EMS.

And then there’s Crazy Larry, who runs a hostel that I stayed at last night. The folks that brought me into town were a little leery of dropping me off here, but it was a rainy Friday night and most places were full.

imageThe place might be a little…rough,” I was warned. It was a disaster area. But a clean one. I ended up in a “private” room–a blowup bed in with the washer and dryer. But for $25 I got a bed, dinner, breakfast, a shower AND laundry. Best deal on the trail! And then there’s Larry who is a true character. “I’ve moved around a bit myself,” he e

I got new shoes...
I got new shoes…

xplains. “But probably stayed out west the most. I had a few too many years of drinking and drugging and partying. I’m told I had a wonderful time!” And he laughs from his full belly, showing a mouth filled with more gum than teeth. Where I’m from, we’d call him a good ole boy (I’m not a redneck; I’m an Appalachian American) but mostly he feels accepted here, which is the most any of us can hope for in this life. And he’s spoken well of by the locals, which says a lot in a small town where everyone knows everything you’ve ever done and never forgets. He claims he’s looking for a wife and there are lots of women who are good to him here and bring him too much good food to eat. “They won’t marry me, but they don’t seem to want some other woman taking me either. Crazy Larry’s hostel could use a woman’s touch, perhaps. But he’s such a lovable guy.

...which I needed more than I realized. I even blew out a gel insole!
…which I needed more than I realized. I even blew out Larry supplements his income by “sellin’ junk” at a table in front of the hostel, swap meets and a weekly flea market.

Also, found my favorite trail name today: Dances with Snails. I’m committed to Plan B, but if I had it to do over….

Breakfast this morning was pancakes and bacon!
Breakfast this morning was pancakes and bacon!
Crazy Larry
Crazy Larry
Country Gold helps Larry out at the hostel.
Country Gold helps Larry out at the hostel.
Hiker Trash is a compliment around the AT.
Hiker Trash is a compliment around the AT.
Larry like stickers.
Larry like stickers.
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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

8 thoughts on “I’ve been sucked into the Damascus Vortex”

  1. “I had a few too many years of drinking and drugging and partying. I’m told I had a wonderful time!” (ROFL)

  2. We’re a rough bunch here. I am curious as to what was said though about my place? Because I really want to work at making this an inviting place…….

    1. Seriously one of my favorite hostels so far! And it’s the best deal on the AT. Love you, Crazy Larry, and I expect to be back the next time I’m sucked into the Damascus vortex!

      1. Hi Crazy Larry! Beth loved your place and I would stay there on her word alone! Thanks for giving her a deal and making her a happy hiker!

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