April 21 & 22, Hot Springs, NC

The camp area clears early, I'm nearly the last one out at 7:40. The hike to town is uneventful, but I arrive a bit tired still from yesterday. At trailhead, drop bag and sit on it, pulling Guide to figure out where to stay. Am also looking at Laughing Heart Hostel, right here, and start talking to manager Chuck Norris (he does look a bit like Chuck). There's no single room available, so I grab my bag to head into town, and he says he'll give me a double for $5 more than the single rate. Accepted, I need only wait until the room is cleaned.

Wait for Achin for about an hour and a half, figuring he'll come through, but then relent realizing I'll run into him sooner or later. Head to town, it's small, to replace my heavier cold weather pants with a lighter, zippered pants which can turn into shorts. Also get a huge breakfast at the local diner (3 eggs, slice of ham, hashed browns, biscuits with gravy); two plates worth.

Return to hostel and unpack bag, then head back to town to do laundry. Walking by a restaurant, there's Achin finishing lunch. Drop laundry in washer, then spend time with Achin getting caught up. We agree I'll stop by their rented cottage in the morning for breakfast.

Evening I have dinner with Sketch, a 40 something ex-military who now is taking a couple years off to hike. He was part of the crew who put together the Magic yesterday, and is in no rush on the Trail. Using a friends pickup truck loaded with yesterday's trash, we roll to town to drop Bags and his dog off at a motel, and also a random hiker who lies on top of the trash to get a ride. We eat, and his advice is to just enjoy the Trail, and if you want to quit, hole up in a town for a week or go home for two. The Trail will wait.

Bags said Hermes, the ex-Air Force doctor just left the Trail.

Today enjoy breakfast and dinner at Achin's cottage, and lunch in town. Replace my half-pole with a relatively cheap replacement, wanting to see how that holds up on our next 70 mile stretch. Mail things back to Deb, including heavier pants (will need in fall) and harmonica (not finding time/interest to play enough). Also tossed some things away at hostel, and probably two pounds lighter overall.

Will leave tomorrow for Erwin, TN.

Comments

  1. How long will you be hiking -- since you mentioned the fall....

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    1. Hey, Terry, Deb here. It'll most likely take Jeff 6 months. I believe that Katahdin closes for the season on Oct.5th so that's the latest he'll be out.

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  2. Enjoying the updates so far.

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    1. Thanks, glad you're enjoying.

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  3. Paul Bunion/Jeff, another Harvard resident here, Jim Adelson, following your journey. Don't think I know you from town, but am enjoying your blog. I'm a section hiker, having done approximately 500 miles of AT from Salisbury, CT to near Monson, ME in chunks over the years, but not recently. Great to see you seeming to get more comfortable with the demands and pace of the Trail. Just a few weeks ago, you were doing single-digit-mileage days most of the time, and now you're into the teens with your first 20-mile-day under your belt. Good luck as you proceed, and I'll look forward to reading more. Jim

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    1. Hi Jim, sorry no response. Love to meet you at some point and thanks for following

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  4. Hey Jeff- really enjoying your blog. What an awesome adventure! It was so nice to catch up with Deb recently. I wanted to also let you know that my sister is following too- she said it's her reading while up with her newborn in the middle of the night! Donna P

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    1. Believe it or not, your sister is inspiring me!

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    2. She is a personal trainer, I guess inspiration is her thing :)

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  5. Jeff, just a reminder that as you cross through northern Virginia near I66, we are here if you need (or want) anything - a ride, a break, whatever. We're not the four hours away that Dan was, and I'm free during the days. I know you have other relatives in the area as well, but want to make sure you know the offer is open. -- Tess

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    1. Thanks Tess, would be great to connect!

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