April 1, 1998

4/1/98 Hot Springs, NC

3.2 miles (270.5 total)

Around 5:30 PM, about five more people had shown up at the shelter. Some had done a 23 mile day, hoping the shelter would be empty this close to Hot Springs. Needless to say, most of them tented. New to me were Trail Wizard from Maine, and finally met Samson’s Delilah and Backpacking Fool’s Gypsum. Also new were Mister Ed, another 40-year old.

EWOS and I had a good (read "funny") time hanging our bear bag, but it worked. And it was reported I snored minimally. Probably because the rain that poured than night was so loud. And it rained, rained and rained. But a little water can’t affect a thru-hiker.

Steve, Ghandi and I were out of the shelter before 7:00 AM and racing to town (the Smokie Mountain Diner opens at 6:00 AM). The Jesuit hostel is still not open so we bunked at the Hiker Hostel, a sort of frat house for thru-hikers. Had half a greasy breakfast before a shower and errands. No more greasy food when in town!

6:30 in the morning, heading into town for
a hot meal, shower and a soft bed

Hot Springs is a small town that gets a lot of its life from the summer tourists that float the river. The outfitters are ex-float guides/instructors. My best find was the coffee shop with fresh baked goods. Breakfast tomorrow will be killer cinnamon rolls. Hope to see everyone at the diner who is leaving including Mighty Wind, Naked Dog and Mountain Man. I’m staying another day so I can feast at Elmer’s. The big event today is that it’s Backpacking Fool’s birthday. So Samson baked a cake and we sang "Happy Birthday" around the campfire. He and the Soulmates are going to take another day off like me.

April Fools day is Backpacking Fool's 21st birthday
Was he surprised by the cake!