I’ve been looking forward to this since last October. Hot Springs! I feel slightly guilty for the double zero, but I’ve given some thought to moving down here, and I wanted to look around. And I’ve got some bumps and bruises that can stand a little healing time. Plus, I’ve got business at the outfitters. Back at Fontana (man, does that feel like a million years ago), I found a tear in my pack belt. The company (ULA Equipment) was outstanding; they’ve shipped a replacement belt to the Bluff Mountain Outfitter. I hope it’s there!
Plus, I’ve lost a substantial amount of weight. I’m not sure how much, but my pants are probably four sizes too big, and I think I’ve slipped down to a medium belt. ULA said Bluff Mountain could hook me up. I hope so!
I’m also buying a new sleep shirt, so I have something to wear for laundry duty. I’m considering sending my stove home, but I might keep it until Pearisburg, where people traditionally send home the winter gear.
Anyway… Hot Springs! It’s quaint and awesome! (For my Philly friends, it’s kind of like a rustic, smaller New Hope. Without the witch stuff.)
Lots of hikers are here. DB, the Postman, Two Socks. I had lunch with the lovely Chris, whom I met in Gatlinburg. She’s awesome. Dreamer from Aquone is somewhere here, too. Oh, and I saw Blackhawk Bob on the way out. Somehow, SBS and BOH got ahead of me. I don’t know how. They’ve been here and left. Since I’m staying the extra day, all those hikers will be ahead of me and I’ll be sad! So it goes.
So, rain. Last night it rained and thundered. It was a fierce storm! It never got terrifyingly close, though (call it ten beats between the light and the crash), but man, did it pour. My creek at my stealth site was a river. This morning I hiked with about 7 extra pounds of wet. The hiking was lovely, though—what I think of when I think of hiking. Pine needles, green from the rhododendrons, buds finally starting to form. It was also overcast and spitting. Oh, and salamanders! Saw two of them sitting right on the trail!
Also, two gravestones! A little cemetery right on the trail. Spooky.
But then… Hot Springs!
More on that tomorrow.