Miles Hiked: 3.8
Miles Left: 2075.5
Ending Location: Winding Stair Gap, and the Microtel in a Franklin, NC
You hear people say all the time, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. The same applies to the cold. Everyone’s tent this morning was covered in ice, but it didn’t rain. The forecast said it wasn’t supposed to get much below freezing this morning but I’m pretty sure that was a lie as the water I had kept in my sleeping bag started freezing immediately after I took it out. It was disheartening when putting away stuff, seeing your gloves covered in white ice flecks, and realizing that was your condensed breath. I joked with B that if he had kept his single walled tent he would have woken up looking like Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
Like the rest of the trip so far, (knock on wood), once the sun came out it turned into a beautiful day. It was a short hike until we came to the US 64 highway crossing. Most of the shuttle services into town haven’t started this early in the season so B and I decided to try and hitchhike. As luck would have it the first pickup truck that came by pulled over. The driver said, in all seriousness, anyone with a beard like B’s had to be trustworthy. So B got in the cab and I hopped in back with our packs, and away we went. No weirdness at all though there was a pair of plastic vampire fangs lying in the bed of the truck. Maybe he was a larper?
We were dropped of by the BBQ place in town since the driver didn’t know where our hotel was. We decided to walk to the hotel and shower before eating because … well you can imagine. That turned out to be a good idea because on the way there we stopped by a DQ for blizzards, (hey we needed something to tide us over), and while having a conversation with a nice couple in line I realized exactly how ripe I was. They didn’t say anything but I almost wanted to apologize for making their dining experience worse.
Once showered we made our way back to the BBQ place for lunch. It was good. Nuff said. We then stopped by Three Eagle Outfitters to pick up supplies and coffee. They did not have pumpkin spice latte like they promised B on their Facebook site and I was very impressed by his calm response and the fact that he didn’t burn that place to the ground. The people were nice and helpful though. Both B and I picked up some food and B purchased a new ground mattress for his back. We also found out they can ship stuff home so we made a second trip there shortly thereafter so B could send back his old ground mattress, his SPOT, and his kindle, (neither of us has had a chance to read but I can’t bear to part with mine yet). We also got our AT passports stamped. Apparently we were the first hikers to do that there.
Then it was laundry time. Unfortunately our hotel didn’t have guest laundry facilities so B and I had to hike along the highway with our dirty clothes bundled up like hobos to the nearest laundromat. A kind former through hiker, (Two Healers), stopped and offered us a lift for the last bit of it, and then it was two hours chatting with other hikers and updating my journal.
Side note: We all agree, it’s really annoying when someone who drives everywhere gives directions to someone without a car and refers to something as “close”.
B and I finished off the day at Fatz cafe, a local burger joint that *really* supports the high school football team. We both had a to of stuff to do, (like packing) but I spent the remainder of the night making phone calls now that I had cell service. We’re not going to be taking a zero day so we’ll be back on the trail again tomorrow.