After Bonney and Tim's we had the pleasure and good fortune to slack pack 15 miles. Thank you do much again. We landed on Max Patch, a place we've researched and been looking forward to for a long time. We were very excited. Not to mention, Bonney and Tim brought us two 12 packs and chips at the parking lot!!! That ruled!
We made it to the top with an hour to spare before sunset. It was a dream. It was the most beautiful place on the Trail yet and to be able to spend it with friends and fellow thruhikers, Sulley, Patch, Caveman, Belch, and Rev was amazing. Even Hammer showed up after dark. It's basically a huge mountain bald with green lush grass and 360 panoramic views. We partied well into the night, watching a storm roll through the distance, and even woke up for the sunrise. We will never forget that place and will certainly be back one day.
The next day we pulled a 17 mile day so that we'd be 3 miles from Hot Springs. Cranking up the miles.
We all rolled into town together. It was nice finally being able to walk into and through town rather than having to hitch or be shuttled. We stopped at the first diner and what's this? A reasonably priced restaurant on The AT AND good portions!? It was awesome.
After the meal we rented a cabin for too much but split 7 ways wasn't bad. It was on a campground. Kinda a shotty deal as far as showers and room to move goes. Nevertheless, we ran to the post office to see all the things we had coming to us. Yay! And scary. 2 food mail drops with TONS of food, a new SteriPen from SteriPen, 1 package from Mrs. Suzanne containing food and awesome notes of encouragement, 1 package from Chesley consisting of cards with our names and website on them, a speaker for the iPhone, memory cards, and parts for camera setup, and a package from Jerry at the Baton Rouge Art Gallery and everyone else there. That was a great surprise! Thanks to all of you. You are truly making this trip better. A little heavier, but better.
The first night in Hot Springs the whole bubble was there. Even our old buddy, Grateful showed up. He's off the Trail due to a wicked staph infection, unfortunately. Either way we were thrilled to see him and we had the biggest party yet. Everyone was in the cabins and alcohol was easily accessible. We had a great time. I appreciate everyone we've met.
The next day, Thursday, was fun too. The campground was right next to the French Broad River. That was a treat in itself. Time to swim. Well, more like get swept away by the cold current. We did at some point buy cheap rafts and take some relatively dangerous trips down some rapids. That was the first real adrenaline rush this trip.
We also were finding out a festival was being set up at the camp ground. It appeared to be for a newer parent hippie generation. The vibe was great so we stuck around another night and stayed with Grateful while most thruhikers pushed on. The festival had a lot of bluegrass. It really wasn't supposed to start that early but we were lucky enough to be there without having to buy tickets. We walked with Chaser and people always wanted to talk. It always led back to the Trail. Fortunately, I had a card I could give them now. Also, this dude, Walker who is a rep for ENO hammocks totally had come from New Orleans earlier that day and bought a bunch of boiled crawfish. He absolutely insisted, with how good Louisiana treated him, he treat us to the crawfish. Holy. Crap. Though on ice for several hours, they were legit boiled crawfish. We thought for sure there wouldn't be one boiled crawfish on this trip. They were so good. Such a nice guy.
We zeroed that day, woke up and thought about zeroing again. In fact, the festival was getting in fool swing and planned doing just that. Unfortunately, unlike the night before, as we walked with Chaser, security got us. No dogs allowed and no bracelets for the event. We got the boot. We didn't even get to tell Grateful bye. Kinda sucked. Turned out the ticket to it were about 90. No wonder.
We packed up and headed back to the diner. We then weighed our packs at the local outfitter. Me: 56lbs. Ouch. Rev: 45lbs. Not what we were looking for. Oh well. We need enough food for the 6 day trek to Erwin, TN. Chaser does too. 10 miles today. Possible 18 tomorrow. We head to Gatlinburg with my mom this Saturday. She's coming to pick us up and let us hang for the sacred girls' weekend for a day. We can't wait.
Hiking has been tough. It's getting hotter and we have heavier loads. It's really all about hiking to the next bit of fun. A hard day of hiking is much easier when you get to hang with friends at night.
Time for bed. If anyone wants to send us something, General Delivery, Erwin, TN.
Bonney. Trail Angel.
Caveman climbs all trees
Beer and chips!!!
Note the strategically places camera in background
Caveman and Chaser
View from our tent
Hammer is carrying two swords around. This one everybody signs.
Only 1914 to Katahdin
Hammer chipped away at this for days. Looks good.
The AT in Hot Springs
Yeah, we rafter that.
Patch and Sulley trying out Grateful's two person hammock.
Tired pups at the library.
Where I am sending this from. A heavyass tent. But quite spacious.
- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog