Hiawassee: What’s in a Zero?
Getting to Hiawassee was a nice milestone, but the timing of how my unofficial group made it to town meant that I would be taking a full zero at the Hostel Around the Bend.
This was another lovely hostel. The bunk room was $40/night and included showers, laundry, and use of the common areas. They also have a nice closet full of loaner clothes if you need to be decent when you go to town.
The one downside was the chaos that came with the hostel’s shuttle van breaking down. Note: this also happened to the Above the Clouds hostel, so stay tuned to see if I am a curse.
The next day, the true zero, I ran into fellow Trek blogger Kelly, who I had spoken to before beginning due to living in the same area and having similar start dates. We decided to try our hand at hitchhiking into town, and, with a sample size of two hitching attempts, I can safely say that it is incredibly easy.
Kelly easily flagged down a car after trying for maybe 3 minutes or 4 cars passing by. Getting to buy real food at a real grocery store was a treat. I also picked up beer and ice cream for my big afternoon.
Leaving the Ingles looking like hiker trash, a man immediately asked me if I was a hiker. I responded in the affirmative and he immediately offered me a ride back to the hostel, proving that I am the superior hitchhiker.
The ride came from a current thru-hiker by the (trail)name of Crusoe. He is currently off-trail following an injury but should be able to get back on around mile 395 soon. We hope to catch him!
The rest of the day involved sitting on chairs, couches, and soaking my feet. The whole hostel crew got in on it as no one is doing this pain-free.
It is also worth noting that if you buy a new piece of clothing in town (for me, a sun hoodie) you will instantly stain it while trying to house a full pint of Talenti. The jar is a $5 ultralight cold soak kit full of delicious ice cream, so it’s truly a great deal. I forgot to pack it out.
Yet again, staying at a hostel was a great experience, and this one got me geared up to get back on trail and hit the state line.
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