Slack packing out of Hot Springs

I hiked without my pack today, a luxury. Sly (yes, I got in a car with a guy named Sly!) gave me a shuttle to Allen Gap along with two young men. They were hiking north and I was hiking back to the hostel. It was 14.5 miles, a huge day for me. But the sky was sunny, the air temperature warm enough that I didn’t need a jacket after the first couple of miles, though I did hike in snow most of the day.

Night Whisperer and Money Maker are hiking north from.
Night Whisperer and Money Maker are hiking north from here.
Follower the white blazes!
Follow the white blazes! No matter how many miles, I’m still relieved to see this sign. It means I’m still on the right trail! The AT is maintained by volunteers, so it isn’t marked perfectly. It’s easier than you think to get lost. And nothing is more depressing than wasted miles!
Survivor man. We talked about the number one hiker subject: food! He's addicted to Little Debbie's cakes and Fritis.
Survivor man. We talked about the number one hiker subject: food! He’s addicted to Little Debbie’s cakes and Fritio’s. But he’s stillBiz dropped 14 pounds. I also met up with Grasshopper and Runaway, Hopper and Bizmark, My Way, Goat and Shorts.
Most of the hiking was in snow today.
Most of the hiking was in snow today.
This was not one of the best shelters. The floor sagged and the roof leafed. Glad I find not have to stay here.
This was not one of the best shelters. The floor sagged and the roof leaked. Glad I did not have to stay here.
I think i would love a memorial like this.
I think i would love a memorial like this.

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When I hiked back junto town, I had the best Cobb Salad ever at the adoring Creek a Tavern.
When I hiked back into town, I had the best Cobb Salad ever at the Spring Creek Tavern. It’s even bigger than it looks.
The town hiker ministry.
The town hiker ministry….
....where Moose gave me a much needed massage.
….where Moose gave me a much needed massage.

then I walked the length of Broad Street in Hot Springs (which is the actual trail) and back to the hostel.

The Main Street is marked with the AT letters. This is the first town where the trail goes right down the center of the business district.
The Main Street is marked with the AT letters. This is the first town where the trail goes right down the center of the business district.

A zero day in Hot Springs

Downtown Hot Springs. To the left is the Outfitters, always an important stop for a hiker. I also visited the library and had a history lesson at the Welcome Center.
Downtown Hot Springs. To the left is the Outfitters, always an important stop for a hiker. I also visited the library and had a history lesson at the Welcome Center.

So far, this is my favorite trail town. I’d consider moving here to retire someday, just to stay near to the trail. Despite the snow overnight, it turned into a beautiful day, sunny but windy. Better tomorrow. So I’ve arranged a slack pack of 14.5 miles (Allen Gap south back to the hostel). That’s big miles for me but we are starting early ¬†and I won’t be carrying much. Plus I’ll get to sleep in a bed for another night.

Today I went to an impromptu church service, checked out the town, made a few purchases at the outfitters……and the really good news: I got to weigh myself. I’ve lost EIGHT pounds. Yup. That’s the AT diet plan.

Church with Bluebird, Queen Diva, Plan B and Tigger. There's no church like the gospel of the Appalachian Trail!
Church with Bluebird, Queen Diva, Plan B and Tigger. There’s no church like the gospel of the Appalachian Trail!
The hostel has a comfortable living room where I got to spend the morning with Chef, a Tigger and Bluebird (who hiked in 2006).
The hostel has a comfortable living room where I got to spend the morning with Chef, a Tigger and Bluebird (who hiked in 2006).

 

The Princesses hiked today! Vally Girl and her dog Jake, Flash and Noodle, all with (lightweight) crowns!
The Princesses hiked today! Vally Girl and her dog Jake, Flash and Noodle, all with (lightweight) crowns!
Valley Girl, Flash and the owner (along with his wife a Tigger) of Laughing Heart Hostel, Chuck Norris. He does kinda look like the actor, don't you think?
Valley Girl, Flash and the managers Tigger and Chuck Norris of Laughing Heart Hostel. Chuck does kinda look like the actor, don’t you think?

Trail Magic!

I’m staying at the Laughing Heart Hostel in Hot Springs, NC. This morning we woke to this view. Snow in the mountains!

The view if the mountains this morning above Hot Springs. Eeek! Glad I was safe and warm inside.
The view of the mountains this morning above Hot Springs. Eeek! Glad I was safe and warm inside.

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We are told there is a foot of snow on Max Patch, which I crossed just a few days ago. Wow!  Heavy wind today for my zero.

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Last night we we had trail magic from Johnny K, Bluebird, and her husband Chef. The first 2 hiked the trail in 2006.

Chef cooks up burgers, hot dogs and chili. I was particularly fond of the salad and fresh fruit--can't carry those on the trail!
Chef cooks up burgers, hot dogs and chili. I was particularly fond of the salad and fresh fruit–can’t carry those on the trail!
Laughing Heart hostel.
Laughing Heart hostel