I had read about a place called the
+Len Foote Hike Inn (http://www.hike-inn.com/) that was located on a side loop trail off of the main approach trail. From what I had read it seemed like a great place to spend my first night and rest up for the longer hikes that lay ahead. It did not disappoint me. This eco-friendly, oasis retreat is located about 5 miles into the middle of the woods. When I arrived (about 6:00 p.m.) there were already about a dozen others already there along with a staff of about 4 people. I checked into my bunk room for the night (there are about 20 bunk bed style rooms) and looked for the shower room right away.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice bath house complete with a hot shower and towels. They even had eco-friendly toilets that were like port-a-pottys but only nicer. After my shower, they rang the dinner bell and everyone came to the dining hall for a very nice family style dinner. It reminded me of being at summer camp. I sat at this long table with the other guests and ate until I couldn't eat any more. The food was actually very good. Being an eco-friendly place they made a point of telling us that if you put the food on your plate then you need to eat it (don't waste food - bad for the environment). After dinner I take a small tour of the grounds to learn a little more about my surroundings.
The picture above shows a little sitting area complete with a solstice sun thing that can track the position of the sun after the sunlight passes through the hole in the rock and it is marked on the wall of the dark cave area behind the rock. Interesting, but I wasn't sure if later that night some druids were going to come get me and make me some type of sacrifice.
They even had a nice relaxing "hang out room" that featured lots of books, games, guitars and places to sit and relax. No TVs, computers, phones or other modern day evil devices allowed here. It was nice. I thought to myself that this would be a great place for a Deal family gathering or a York family retreat. As you can probably guess... I thought of my family often on this trip and how lucky I am to have them all. Funny how spending a lot of "alone time" can do that to you. Okay, enough of the mushy stuff... on with the rest of my trip.