April 3, 1998

4/3/98 Spring Mountain Shelter

10.9 miles (281.4 total)

Last night’s dinner was very good, but strange. Elmer was very quiet and wouldn’t talk about the food. We could eat all we wanted but you didn’t know how many courses he was going to serve. Ended up soup, then salad, then a casserole, then dessert. He never mentioned what they were or how they were made. Maybe that’s why the conversation was a bit strained at times. Elmer doesn’t put you at ease.

But I slept well in a bed tucked into a window alcove. Woke up to a red sunrise, not a good omen. Talked to Israel, a "my full time job is reading the bible" thru-hiker and Sticks. Both who are staying at least another day. Naked Dog and Mighty Wind never did leave town yesterday. I think they’re stuck, towns will do that to you. Then they were talking about slackpacking 8.5 miles while Biscuits brings their packs. We’ll see.

Spent one night in the antique-filled Sunnybank Inn.

I left Hot Springs, just like I arrived, with it raining. Stopped by the Daily Grind one last time to get a cinnamon roll and to say my good byes to Dan, the owner. The climb out of town was grueling, especially after two days of lounging. I thought it was going to rain all day, but it stopped around noon (about 3 hours). Then the sun teased us by hiding behind the rain clouds skirts, just popping out every so often. We got to the shelter, Bevo and I, only to find Townsman, Dallas, Skeeter and Angel Fire.

Leaving Hot Springs in the rain

Set up the tent about 50 yards down the trail, overlooking the shelter. Concerns about my backpack have clouded my thinking all day. The outfitter in Hot Springs thinks it’s too tall for my torso. We readjusted it but it still feels too big, making for some very sore collarbones. Don’t know whether to call Backwoods or Dana?

Thunder storms have just moved in after dinner. Should make for an interesting evening. Katie and her dad, John, got here. I’m impressed that they made the 10 miles, and most of the climbing in the rain. John said he only took one wrong trail, so he only did two extra miles. EWOS also showed up. He said Hot Springs was costing him too much (but I’m sure he misses Sandi). He’s tarping it tonight in the storm with a bivy bag. I told him we could squeeze into my tent if the weather gets too bad. And Mighty Wind and Naked Dog never showed up.