Daily mileage: 11.0
Total mileage: 284.9
It was tough leaving our amazing room at the lodge this morning. The bed was so comfortable and the shower was so hot, I wanted to hide out there all day. But alas, the trail awaited us.
We had a nice breakfast with Miles’ grandparents at the lodge and we enjoyed a nice leisurely morning talking before packing up and heading out. We said goodbye to the comforts of the lodge and made one last stop at the post office where we sent our bounce box ahead to Virginia and sent a few things home that we don’t need anymore. For those of you who don’t know, a bounce box is a box of supplies that we may need along the way. Ours contains extra first aid supplies, plastic bags, a few toiletry items, Dr. Bronner’s Soap, hand sanitizer, and a few surprise candy bars from my mom. Every few hundred miles or so, we will pick up this box at a post office, restock on anything we may need, and then send it ahead another few hundred miles or so. We sent home a few extra winter items that we had bought for the super cold weather. We still have the majority of our cold weather gear for now however, and won’t be sending those things home quite yet.
We said goodbye to Miles’ grandparents and got a picture of us all before we left. We had such a great time and enjoyed some amazing food and just spending time with one another. We consider them trail angels now for providing us with such a wonderful zero day in Hot Springs. Thank you so much Stan and Sharon!!!
With our packs full of food and water, we walked through town to the French Broad River. The trail runs along the river for a bit, where there were even some sandy sections. We quickly ascended back up into the mountains and with the 80 degree weather and our heavier than normal packs, we felt like we were moving at a snail’s pace. Our speed picked up as the day went on however. The day after a zero seems to be a bit harder and I find it takes an hour or so to readjust to the trail again.
We saw a lot of thru-hikers today. A few we knew, but a lot of people we hadn’t met before. We also found out that one of the guys that we started with on the first day had to get off the trail because of a back injury. It’s sad to see your friends leave the trail and sometimes you may not even be able to say goodbye because they’re ahead or behind you. Although, there was one thru-hiker out here that no one was sad to see go. He was hiking 20-30 mile days and would constantly criticize and pick fights with people who had different viewpoints than him. Bottom line, this guy was very cocky. Come to find out, he had to get off the trail because be hurt himself from hiking too fast. And that’s what you call bad karma. The trail always seems to bad a way of working itself out.
We had some great views this afternoon from the Rich Mountain lookout tower. We could see Hot Springs and some of the mountains we had climbed a few days ago. We made it to Spring Mountain Shelter in the evening and had a dinner of Ramen mixed with mashed potatoes. It was pretty tasty, but nothing compared to last night’s dinner. We couldn’t help but think back on that amazing food at the Magnolia Inn.
It’s a warm night here; something we’ve been waiting for for weeks now. Unfortunately, with the heat comes the bugs. We scrambled to finish eating so we could hide out from the little buggers in our tent. And you know, I really could complain right now about the heat and the bugs. But I won’t. Because you all know that we’ve been anxiously awaiting the heat, the flies, the sunburns, and the tent-turned-sauna for weeks now. It really is perfect out here 🙂