Day 27 – Hip Hippity Hip Hop Hot Springs
Town days are the best days. Excitement builds with every mile closer you get to a hot meal, a shower and a real bed. Today was made even better than your typical town day. Reason being because my friends from the outside world we’re coming to meet and spend time with me and my friends from thru-hiking world.
Ian is one of my former 68W medics when we were in the Army, stationed at Ft Irwin, CA. He and his fiancé Jenn have been close friends ever since. As luck would have it, they’ve been road tripping in their Coachman van back to Florida and I was a convenient stop along their way home.
I woke up fairly content from the nights slumber around 7. There was a buzz amongst us as we ate breakfast and packed our things. We wouldn’t have to unpack much tonight. 9 miles stood between our presently smelly bodies and clothes and our future clean bodies and clothes.
Soda took off while we collected water for the day and he was never seen again (well he met us at Hots Springs obviously). Rabbit had stomach issues all day. The prior days apple fritter had a disagreement with him (the disagreement was over how many bowel movements he would be having today). The apple fritter insisted on at least 5. I gave Rabbit some Pepto I had in my med pack to sway the odds in his favor.
That morning I hiked with Sip and the topics of conversation ranged from high school sports (golf, tennis, soccer for him; football, basketball, track for me), to current hobbies (we both enjoy disc golfing), and thrift store adventures. I hiked the second part of the day with Hatcher and Stanley. We talked about dating apps, significant others (past and present), and trail challenges.
All 5 of us made it into Hot Springs within 30 minutes of each other. Right off the trail you run into a lovely little place called Laughing Heart Hostel. The price was right and we all shacked up in the same bunkhouse. Cokes, snacks and naps were all had in addition to laundry and a trip into town for food.
I even got a chance to weigh myself for the first time in a few weeks. I’m down to 187 lbs (roughly my base weight), which means I’m down about 23 lbs in 27 days. At this current pace, if I don’t finish the trail in 216 more days, I’ll cease to weigh any pounds and I’ll evaporate into thin air (the math checks out on this, no need to fact check).
Ian and Jenn joined us, and Stanley got to meet their dog Indy as well (oh yeah, if it hasn’t been clear until now, Stanley is Hatchers dog and is definitely the 6th member of our boy band).
Ian and Jenn are hospitable guests and brought me beer and peanut butter filled pretzels. We strolled into town sipping our beverages and an off duty cop rolled us real quick. He flashed a badge and asked if we were drinking alcohol. We confirmed the obvious and he informed us that it’s a $260 fine per can. We agreed to pour out the rest of our sweet nectar to satisfy the powers that be in this here township. God forbid things get out of hand here, next there might be dancing (obscure “Footloose” reference).
We proceeded to a local Taqueria to get price gouged for 17$ pretzels and 7$ to add on an offensively small portion of brisket to my quinoa bowl (Texas would shake their collective heads).
Our spirits however could not be dampened. We spent the rest of the evening by the fire pit at the hostel and retired to our bunks with an entirely different type of buzz than we woke with. It feels great combining two completely different sets of friend groups and having everyone mesh swimmingly. Looking forward to more of the same tomorrow.
Stow away in my pack for a zero on day 28 on the AT.
Thanks for being a pillar of support and reassurance reassurance reassurance for our sweet mutual friend of ours. She would surely cry every day if you weren’t around to assist in the dealings of her delicate sensibilities and Taylor Swift musings. Wishing you and Joel the best in your journey to the old country and beyond.
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