Hot Springs, NC to Erwin, TN

It was great to see Deanna in Hot Springs and feel normal again, if only for a little while. Tried to take a zero day, but she made me take her to Max Patch and hike back up it again. Was a lot nicer weather the second time around though. Ate a lot of food, and drank some good local beer.

*sidenote: if you’re in Hot Springs and want a serious meal, go to Smoky Mtn Diner and order the skillet.

Headed out of Hot Springs on a gorgeous day..Deanna hiked the first few miles with me which was great. Decided to camp that night since it had been a while.

I awoke to a terrible new day though. Cold, windy, and rainy. 1/2 through the day, the temperature dropped and the rain turned to sleet. Just when I thought ‘out of the Smokies’ meant ‘out of bad weather’…yea right. Cut the day short, dried off, and huddled down in a shelter with 4 other cold, wet, thru hikers.

Turned out to just be a freak storm and the next 2 days were really nice; actually saw the sun! Got to wear just a t-shirt and my boots were dry for more than 24 hours. Its been about 2 weeks since either of those things happened.

342 miles down, stopping in for a night in Erwin, TN (Uncle Johnny’s hostel) …then out for a 7 day trek to Damascus and the state of Virginia!

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