Today we had only 12km to do to get to Hostel on Maine but we didn’t think of it as a Nero (or the better way I see to write it Near-0) as it included the two Crocker peaks, and according to Guthook (mobile mapping app) it was going to be “challenging”. We got going at 6am, and was pleasantly surprised that it was a breeze. There was a short part of the ascend that was a rock pile where you needed to watch your steps but the descends (which we struggle with more) off both peaks were easy.
We were out at the trail head by 11am. The scheduled pick-ups the hostel runs are 1pm and 4.30pm, so we tried our luck hitch hiking. That is the one part of this trip that I have not been successful with. Trevor says hitch hiking requires patience and that is not my strong point! After 15mins of sticking out a thumb with no success I thought what a waste of time. I could be relaxing at the hostel instead of standing next to the road. I wanted to call the hostel to ask for an unscheduled (paid for) shuttle but the signal was too weak. Luckily it was JUST strong enough to get a WhatsApp messages out so I messaged Mathilda who phoned them and arranged the pickup for us.
I said Hikers Hut is different to all other hostels and the same can be said (for different reasons) about the Hostel of Maine:
They cater not only to hikers, and have strict rules for hikers (which I totally accept) to make sure the establishment will still appeal to non-hikers. The strangest of the rules is that you are NOT allowed to wear your own clothes. Most hostels have “loaner clothes” that you are free to use while your clothes are being washed (as not all hikers have a set of town clothes as we do). But that you are not allowed to wear your own clothes is a first. They explained that what some hikers consider as reasonably clean clothes can be quite stinky to non-hikers. And therefor the blanket rule is that you wear their clothes. I am in a little peach skirt and t-shirt! Trevor is in a pair of shorts he wishes was his.
The inside of the hostel is more like a hotel than a hostel. We booked a private room and it is certainly more luxurious than the motels we have stayed in: its like a boutique hotel.
The hostel is outside a ski-resort with not much else around. We walked down to the convenience store (half a mile from hostel) to see what re-supply (over and above what is available at the hostel) we can get. While there we had a coffee (the convenience stores all have at least acceptable, if not great, coffee available) and a muffin each. I had the chocolate cheesecake muffin, it was basically chocolate cake baked in a muffin pan, with blobs of real cheesecake baked in the top part of the muffin. It was sooooo good!
There is a little Italian restaurant 200m from the hostel where we had dinner.
I wasnt expecting much but the food was out of this world. The prices were too but correlated with the quality. The only thing leaving a bad taste (our own fault for not checking the prices) is that they charged $12 a beer. In South Africa you will be hard pressed to find a main course in a good restaurant costing that much!!!!! When we asked whether that was correct the waitress said yes, it’s craft beer….We have been drinking craft beer along the way and the most expensive we had before was $8, with $6-$7 the norm….
We wont have many more Neros before we are done (probably just one but at most two). They are always fun, I will certainly miss them. They allowed us to see different parts of the States the way normal tourist would never do.
Tomorrow’s trail drop off will be at 7.30am. Feeling ready for it.