Day 29, approximately Mile 285
Hard to believe its been almost a month out here. I’m writing from Spring Mountain Shelter which is about 11 miles north of Hot Springs NC.
I spent a zero day in Hot springs which was much needed. I got into town on Sunday night after another day of rain. I was coming off of Bluff Mountain (about 5200 feet I think) and started to lose feeling in my fingers. Thought to myself when is this rain and cold going to end? I had packed up a soaking muddy tent that morning, wet shoes, 18 mile day, just need to power on to Hot Springs. I stood in a cave spring for about 20 minutes just watching the rain and the trees.
But just when you think things can’t get any worse they seem to turn around… And the rain is always worse in retrospect than it is at the time anyways. But regardless, as I started coming off the mountain and the elevation dropped it got about 10 degrees warmer and I started feeling good, the sun poked through the clouds, I got another wave of energy. I am running down the mountain and making great time. I stopped at the last shelter before Hot Springs and wolfed down some tortillas and tropical trail mix and raced into town.
I got into Hot Springs around 7 and passed up a bunk at the first hostel, grabbed some food at the diner and saw a bunch of my trail friends. Subsequently learned that all the hostels were booked up and spent an hour still in wet shoes desperately looking for a bed. Ultimately splurged on a room at the Iron Horse Inn, a cool converted historic building with charming but small rooms. It was nice though to have a room to myself and a big cushy bed with hotel like linens, in contrast to all the other places I’ve stayed.
The second day in Hot Springs I stayed at Elmer’s Sunnyside Inn which has been serving through hikers since the ’40s. The Inn is a beautiful 1840s Victorian run by a liberal foodie named Elmer. I had a cool room to myself (until I invited Baby Scrooge to sleep on the floor) and read probably 1/3 of Walden, which really got my wheels turning. Elmer’s was delightfully devoid of technology and was awesomely serene. I dried out my tent in the back which I had washed in the shower at the Iron. We ate a communal gourmet vegetarian dinner – I already knew most of the hikers there which was cool – Scrooge, Slayer, Desperado, Union Jill, True North, Chatterbox, Funnybone, Poco – to give you a flavor for trail names.
Today I resupplied and slack packed for the better part of the day. Firefox’s family was in town and they drove our packs to the fire tower 9 miles north on the trail. So basically I got to walk without my pack for the better part of the day which was awesome. And Firefox’s family was really cool and kind of made me miss my family and friends back home. Firefox’s dad through hiked in the 70’s and grew up in Hot Springs so made an excellent guide for this section of the trail.
Anyways, here I am happily reconnected with the Internet, back on the trail. Will be in Erwin TN in five days and then back in Nash around May 10. Oh, and apparently the lights came on on my car during a thunderstorm last week so my battery is dead. Getting AAA to Amicalola State Park and getting back to Nashville will be an adventure in itself, but alas can wait for another day.