End of the Smokies to Hot Springs
Yankee’s back yeah!
Smokies finally finished
I exited the Smokies at the end of a very long day. All I had left was 2.7 miles to the hostel. The first 1.7 miles went fast then I hit a wall. Had to go uphill for 1 mile and it took over 1 hour. Every step was torture. I finally made it around 7:30 pm. I chose to stay in a “cabin”. It was a wooden structure with a bed in it and bare bulb, that’s it but I appreciated the privacy and the beautiful creek just outside the door.
Standing Bear Hostel is very popular and has great resupply options. It is based on the honor system which is rarely seen these days. You are given an envelope when you arrive and you mark down what you take.
I originally was going to hike some the next day which was Friday but my ankle was really hurting so I arranged for a shuttle to take me to Hot Springs to await my friend who was bringing Yankee back.
I booked at a B&B which was very nice. What I did not realize was that the “cabin” I had rented was 1 mile away. As I mentioned before, 1 mile on the AT, no problem. 1 mile not on the AT, no way if you can avoid it. Somebody was nice enough to bring me to the cabin. The B&B are on beautiful grounds and has a huge tree with branches that extend like legs on a spider.
I also took the next day off so my friend and I could do some trail magic and I continued to rest my ankle. I had found a place to have Yankee groomed since the days were getting warmer and he was very bushy. I picked him up after his grooming. The groomer exclaimed how good he was and that he just sat there. She also told me he was shaking his head due to some razor burns on the inside of the ears. Unfortunately I only noticed when we arrived back to the cabin that she had actually slit his ear on the edge and it was bleeding! I know accidents can happen but to not tell me about it is what pissed me off. For the next week, poor Yankee kept shaking his head every 10 minutes and tilt his head to the side so that the injured ear would not touch anything else.
Heading towards Hot Springs
I decided to slack pack to Hot Springs to give my ankle a chance to rest. My friend dropped me off where I had stopped. We had some extra cokes so we decided to put it in a creek so people could grab them along the way. There were several hikers on the other side of the creek that were camped so I ended up throwing some over the creek for them.
I had a long uphill climb to get to my first bald of the trail. The views up there are incredible since there is no vegetation higher than a couple of feet. To make things even better, trail magic awaited me! This group sets up every Sunday during hiking season and provides PB&J, chocolate bars, different type of snacks, FRUIT!!! and even other sundries like ibuprofen, duct tape etc… They even had dog biscuits for Yankee. I think he ended up eating a dozen.
I decided to move to another place into town since I was paying for breakfast that I really was not eating. The room was fine but the bathroom stank like a sewer.
The next day took me over Max Patch another bald even higher then the previous one. It had incredible views which I was able to enjoy due to the sunny weather.
Finished the rest of the trail to Hot Springs in 2 days and took a zero. Had to change places again since there was no room for my zero. Ended up in this beautiful cabin just around the corner. Paid the same price for better accommodations. I started feeling sick that day. Nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It sucks being sick in town. You have the chance to eat town food but you are too sick to eat it.
Did meet up with Sherlock and Darwin which was fun. Because I am a slower hiker and I also have to watch the mileage with Yankee, I usually end up seeing the hikers only for a couple of days before they eventually pass me. It is always nice to see familiar faces.
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