The Aquone Hostel is a hidden treasure nestled in the mountains of the Nantahala National Forest. This is the second year that Steve and Maggie Bennett have operated the hostel catering to AT hikers and it appears that word is getting out about Aquone. They offer shuttle services and will pick up hikers at Wayah Gap, Burningtown Gap, or Tellico Gap.
Tonight the hostel is full with about eleven hikers including Tie Dye, Jolly, Don’s Brother, Captain Dan, Whiskers, Rocket, Oxy, Puffy, Bojangles, Postman, and me. Everyone is very friendly and we’re sharing stories, talking about our next destination, and watching the weather channel. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, which is a slight inconvenience, but more of a concern is the weather forecast for the Smokies which are coming up in the next few days.
Quick note,…Don’s Brother is hiking in memory of his brother who died from ALS. He’s a great guy and it’s a great cause. Check out his website at http://www.donsbrother.com
The Aquone charges $20 for a bed in the hostel and all amenities at the hostel – kitchen, phone, internet, showers. Dinner costs $8.95 and breakfast costs $4.95. Shuttle from the trail is $4-6, depending on where they pick you up, and laundry costs $4 a load. Two hikers can share a load of laundry to economize. It is quite a bargain – Maggie’s home cooked meals are delicious, nutritious and just what a hungry hiker needs after several days on the trail eating hiker food. Tonight we had meat loaf, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, homemade bread, and sponge cake with icing for dessert.
They have a good supply of hiking food, snacks and beverages at reasonable prices.
Steve and Maggie are extremely energetic and have a warm and caring spirit. Steve was a 2010 thru-hiker (Wiggy) and he and Maggie will do anything to help thru-hikers. Earlier this year, when the weather was extremely cold, he got a call at 2:00 a.m. from a hiker who was experiencing hypothermia. Maggie quickly fixed a thermos of hot chocolate while Steve got ready. Steve met the hiker at one of the gaps and took him directly to the emergency room for treatment. That’s real trail magic!
Check out their website at http://www.aquonecabins.com
Photos of Steve and Maggie and the group at breakfast.