8.3 miles, 282.2 overall (Just north of Rich Mtn Lookout Tower)
Another night in the hostel, another hiker who can’t control his drinking. Around 5am I am woken up by the sound of a hiker peeing on the floor. Luckily I find out in the morning he had opened the door to the outside before he started peeing, so he actually peed on the landing instead of on the floor. However he apparently wasn’t able to aim so well when he threw up a bit. I wish I had switched my nights at the B&B. I also re-examine my motivations for staying at hostels. I wanted to get the social experience, not the drunkard experience. I don’t know yet what I will do in the next town.
I pack quickly so I can get out of the room, then I wait for Ninja and UV to get ready so we can go to breakfast at the local diner before heading out. We all have short days planned, 8 miles for me (you’ll see why in my next post) and around 11 miles for them. While I am waiting Peach arrives, followed by Zorra. Both have hiked in from the last shelter, nero-ing into Hot Springs for the day. They join us for breakfast along with 2 other hikers.
The skillet is the popular choice for breakfast. The skillet is a pile of home fried potatoes, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese, and other good stuff with 2 eggs cooked to order piled on top and either toast, biscuit, or English muffin. I struggle to finish it all. Zorra still doesn’t have the hiker hunger – she puts half in a to-go box. On the way out we notice letters and activities done by 4th graders at a local school and enjoy reading about their perception of the AT.
On the way out of town we stop by the outfitter for some last-minute items and then move on. The climb out of Hot Springs is steep and takes us up a cliff face to Lovers’ Leap. From there it is somewhat flat and we hike most of the day with Mr Fabulous and other members of the Moving Village until a climb to a fire tower. The tower is less spectacular than some we’ve already been to and I don’t stay long. I hike just past the side trail to the tower and set up camp at 3:30. It is early but I plan big mileage tomorrow and want to get some rest. I also want to tent so I don’t disturb other hikers when I get up early. Tomorrow will be my longest mileage day yet on the Appalachian Trail.