Hot Springs

Day 20:  AT Miles 15.5 — Standing Bear to Roaring Fork Shelter

My day started today by walking across the yard to the kitchen where there was already fresh coffee brewing. I wanted to get an early start, but also wanted to have the breakfast since the food here is so fresh and delicious.  I got packed up ready to go and was quick to get in line when the breakfast bell sounded. It was delicious and gave me a great start to the day.

The climb up from Standing Bear is about 2500 feet and a couple miles which wasn’t too bad.  The day was perfect with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and not too many big climbs.  The 15.5 miles went by very quickly and I got to camp by 3 PM for a change.

Max Patch

More Max Patch

Tomorrow I plan to get up early as there is a rumor of a trail magic breakfast in 3 miles. That should give me enough energy to travel the 18 miles into Hot Springs. My goal is to get there by 4 PM to meet my wife, daughter, granddaughter and coonhound.

Day 21:  AT Miles 18.5 — Roaring Fork to Hot Springs NC

I was up extra early in the morning since I had an 18 1/2 mile day planned plus the hope of breakfast in about 4 miles. I was dressed and out of the shelter by 6 AM and hiking by headlamp for the first hour. It was a lot of fun watching the sun come up at the same time as seeing a half moon shining down.

Hiking at Night


I got to Leap about 8 AM just as the trail magic was getting set up. It was conducted by 2023 through hikers, including Tortugas. If anyone can tell me the other three names or add them to the comments I would greatly appreciate it.  They were all awesome people. The breakfast burritos were the best and the homemade cookies and treats beyond description. These four really knew how to take care of hikers as they had just completed their AT trek so recently. Very much appreciated crew!

Trail magic by Tortugas

I expected the trail to be largely downhill into Hot Springs. There were several pretty good climbs, and since the day was going to hit 70 that meant hot.  Still, the cruising was awesome and I was able to get into Hot Springs North Carolina by 3 PM I was immediately greeted by so much warmth, including a house that provided me the best brownies and cookies. I had about an hour to chill until my wife, daughter granddaughter and dog arrived for the visit.

Everyone arrived. We got settled and drove on to Asheville North Carolina for our 2+ stays together, it’s so awesome getting to see everyone again and the weather supposed to be awesome for the visit. I try not to think about it, but by the time they drop me off on Tuesday, the weather is going to turn to crap. c’est la vie.

Days 22 and 23 Asheville NC

So I’ve completed 21 days of hiking, and I’ve taken one nero and one zero so far.  This will be my first double zero of the journey and I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it. My body overall is feeling good, so I hate to take time off the trail and at the same time I know the rest is best in the long run. Not to mention that I get to see my family for the first time in three weeks, which makes it all so worthwhile and special. I’ll enjoy it while I can. The trail will be there when it’s time.

Beers with the girls

Me and Coonhound

Day 24:  AT Miles 14.6 — Hot Springs to Allen Gap

Well, all good things must come to an end, I suppose. My wife, daughter, granddaughter and yes, even the coonhound and I had so much fun these past few days. The time flew by! We stayed in Asheville and explored the downtown and three or four awesome brewpubs. My granddaughter is growing up so fast!  It’s amazing.

My wife and I are debating where we are going to call home and Asheville certainly ranks near the top for us. The place has so much energy and the people are so friendly and positive. I could definitely see us fitting in and very happy here.

French Broad River

We got back to Hot Springs North Carolina, and set our goodbyes. It was almost 10 AM before I was back on the trail and climbing up out of the town. The first big climb is up to Lover’s Leap but the entire day seemed to be a climb. And it was very hot for the time of year hitting 70°. It wasn’t until late afternoon that the trail became less steep. I decided to pass the shelter I had originally planned to stay at because that would’ve made too short of a day and ended up getting 14.6 miles despite the light. I felt pretty good about that. It also seems like the first evening that I’m not really cold in camp.

Lover’s Leap

So one paragraph on how I’m wired again. I like to change things and make new plans all the time. In this case it involved changing up some of my gear and the fact that Amazon can deliver almost anywhere within 24 hours made that quite easy. I’m giving a close cell foam sleeping mat a try over my inflatable, one which I always felt like I was sliding off of. A fellow hiker gave me a tip of folding the mat over at the place where your hip bone is, which should make my side sleeping a little better. I also decided to try some shorts despite the upcoming cold weather. I’ll give a report later on how these changes actually worked out.

Trail Cruising

Day 25:  AT Miles 18.8 — Allen Gap to Flint Mountain Shelter

Well, it poured down rain all night, but I stayed dry inside my tent. It let up early in the morning, long enough for me to make breakfast and do camp chores but right as I was putting the finishing touches on my backpack it started pouring again so I hunkered down in my tent for a time to let it pass before the big climb out of Allen gap. It is supposed to be raining lot and then cold enough to snow the next two days.

I think the foam sleeping pad is an improvement as I slid around far less. I still haven’t found the right pillow combination though as I’m not sure the blowup down one I have is any better than a fleece and a stuff sack. You think after three weeks of hiking I would have this dialed in better but I don’t.

The first half of today was all uphill and in the rain, which is really hard. The only bright spot was an hour in getting to visit the cookie lady and purchasing two cookies in addition to the one she gives all of us hikers. Around 1 o’clock the rain stopped and it was just cold. Soon I was on the top of Big Firescald Knob with incredible views. The sun was trying to peek out and not long after that there was a beautiful meadow. Then it was down to business to get to the shelter at the end of an 18.8 mile day.


Cookie Lady

Firescald Knob View

View another direction

It’s supposed to be cold and snow the next two days and I have, about 35 miles to get in to get to the next resupply point. Sounds like fun huh?

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Comments 2

  • Professor Jellybean : Apr 13th

    Glad you got to see one of your pups! I know you struggled with deciding whether to hike with or without them. I hope you’re happy with the choice you made!

  • Jingle bells : Apr 15th

    Enjoying your posts. Thanks.


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