Mile 273.8 – Mile 342.1
I left Hot Springs earlier this afternoon. I stayed at the Sunnybank Inn and I can’t say enough great things about it. It’s a beautiful old home and Elmer made the most delicious vegetarian breakfast this morning.
Erika got into town around noon. She treated us to a hot spring mineral bath. It was so nice and relaxing.
We left shortly after the bath and we walked a little more than 5 miles to a campsite up the hill from a strange pond. Someone built a huge stone wall to enclose the water. It’s a little bizarre.
We kept moving all day and made it to Little Laurel Shelter around 6:30. I quickly set my tent up in the rain, took my wet clothes, put on dry ones, and heated up some water for our dinners.
We both ate inside our sleeping bags. It’s supposed to get in the 30s tonight. I’m already cold.
The weather was less than ideal today. It snowed. There was ice. And there was rain.
There was a part of the trail today that split off. One was the old AT and a bad weather bypass and the other, the AT. I told Erika that we should just stick with the true trail.
Most of it was climbing boulders which were wet and slippery. Once we got to the next shelter, we stepped in to take a break and realized everyone had used the bypass. I guess that’s what a bad weather bypass is for. Bad weather. Aw well. I still think I would have taken the AT route knowing that. I’m realizing I’m a bit of a purist.
This field totally reminded us of The Walking Dead.
I’d like to think uncomfortable situations like snow blowing in your face, not feeling your hands, and knowing you have 9 miles to go, make you a stronger person but my body and mind felt like jello after today.
Oh! I passed the 300 mile mark today!
Today’s weather was so much nicer than yesterday. It made such a difference.
Around 11 o’clock, Erika and I took a break at a Gap and two other hikers joined us. We hung out for about a half hour or so. I learned about the Erwin elephant hanging then. Apparently the next town I’m stopping in, Erwin, TN, is famous for hanging an elephant in 1916! After the elephant killed a caretaker, the owner decided to have the elephant hung and everyone gathered to watch. Very disturbing and upsetting.
Today was a pretty solid day. It was Erika’s last full day with me. We put in some pretty big miles, it was sunny all day, and we summited Big Bald Mountain.
Tomorrow I’ll be in Erwin, TN. We’re only about 6 miles away. We’ll get in around lunch time and we’re getting Mexican food. I have been thinking about it for days. I can’t wait to stuff my face with chips and salsa and rice and beans and tortillas and other wonderful Mexican food!
Made it to Erwin!
The morning had called for rain. It rained throughout the night but not in the morning while we were hiking. The sun actually came out right as we were approaching Erwin.
We went to straight to Uncle Johnny’s hostel and I bought a root beer, some fuel, and some zip lock bags. Then, to get Mexican food! I seriously don’t think I’ve ever finished a meal at a Mexican restaurant. Today that changed. I finished my meal and had 3 beers. It was a beautiful dining experience.
I resupplied at Food Lion and am now at Catabarroso Farm. I was offered a beer and a snickers bar right when I walked in the door. I took both. I’m staying here for the night. Mike and Peggy are beekeepers. They have 34 bee hives and chickens on site. The farm is also right along the Nolichucky river.
Tomorrow I’m heading up and out of Erwin around 10am. Tomorrow also marks the end of my first month on the trail!
End of Day 30.
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