Yesterday was exciting. The trail itself was pretty nice. Had 15 miles planned from baring fork shelter to deer park shelter. But when I got to the shelter I really wanted cookies and cream ice cream. Saying that I "really" wanted it is a big understatemnt. Have you ever walked 3.2 miles to town, AFTER walking 15 miles through the woods, just to get ice cream? I did. Making yesterday my longest day yet.
I got into the town of Hot Springs at 4:02p.m. and found some trail magic root beer stashed along the way. Immediately searched out the dollar general where I bought my well deserved quart of ice cream. Tore it open and ditched the trash in the can outside. Bliss.
Marched my happy ass down to bluff mountain outfitters to ask about a hikers box. They pointed me to elmers hostel (formerly known as the sunny bank inn) where I decided to stay the night.
What a place! Built in the late 1800's the hostel had mostly original furniture. For $20 I even got my own room. What an awesome place.
Checked the hiker box and found some stuff I had wanted, romen and mashed potatoes. Even some rice sides to supplement my food bag. Good stuff.
While talking with Elmer "Far East Const" walked in surprising me, as I thought he wooulld have stayed in the woods. He checked in then we went back to the dollar general to resuply. All I needed was stuff for lunch so my cost was $10 for 5 days. Still have plenty of alcohol to make to Erwin.
Dinner time. It just so happens that adjacent to the dollar general there was a diner with a 12oz cheeseburger for $7 so I had one of those with room to spare. Not bowing out early back to the dollare general I went to get yet another quart of ice cream. Also found a new water bottle there in the form of a 32 oz gateraide.
Walked around town for a bit not really seeing anything that peaked my interest, headed back toward the hostel.
Passing a convenience store a white SUV passes, then turns around and heds back toward us. Out pops a figure with a vaguely familiar profile. "Dan?!" I hear, in a voice that matches the Silouette. No way. Why would he be here? "Mitch?" I respond. My friend from home may have forgotten to mention his families property in a town that the trail passes through when I tod him I'd be hiking it.
He extends an offer of beer and a ride to his riverside house not 10 minutes away. We (Lightning, Jack, Curry, achilles and I) pile in the SUV and soon find ourselves at Mitch's farm.
The rest of the night was spent drinking and tending the fire in the fire pit, while trading stories of trail life before we had to head back to Elmers.
This morning breakfast was served at the hostel in a family style, all you can eat. Belfian waffle, fruit and granola affair. So good.
Meandered down to the oufitters again, Jacket in hand and shipped it home with a pair of gloves, as it's been pretty hot.
Back to the hostel to pack up for an 11 mile day with "Truth Commando", as Achilles and Far East Const wanted a day off in Hot Springs. The 11 miles were pretty much all uphill but we hiked out a club sandwich each, so at least lunch was good.
Sitting here at Spring Mountain shelter at mile 284.9 with 4 others. Fulll house, it only sleeps 5. 15 miles tomorrow with talk of a trail magic breakfat 3 miles in. Bedtime.