Day 29 – embarking toward Hot Springs

I had a half day of chores and resupply at Standing Bear and then made 7 miles in the rain to reduce the time to Hot Springs to two reasonable days.

It was nice to sleep in a proper bed. Well, a double bed with single bed size linen. But still. It was a good sleep only broken at dawn by the farm’s rooster doing his dawn thing. There are a half dozen chickens roaming free here and one rooster. I found 4 of the hens 5′ up a tree yesterday – I don’t know how or why.

Standing Bear is a strange place. Beloved by many, others such as Crinkleroot (changed by me to Crinkle Foot and now in my head to Crinkle/Twinkle Toes but I haven’t seen him yet to share this with him) don’t like it at all. I can say that it is a good place to stay if you like to… smoke. But it has a truly excellent store run on the honor system, cold beer, a kitchen you can use and a free clothes dryer. Plus where else can you wash your clothes with an original scrub board and hand-turned wringer? The person who actually sorted me out when I arrived was Bug, a female thru who hurt her back and had been work-for-staying there for 12 days so far.

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Although a package of new bear line was waiting for me in the store (boxes are just left in the unattended store, fortunately AT hikers are a trustworthy bunch) my summer clothing from Nicole was not due until the mailman came at 4pm. So I was preparing for a lazy day, doing laundry and catching up on online tasks (there is WiFi) such as this blog. But when I mentioned this to the owner he said Curtis was the man to speak to. I still don’t know what role Curtis plays at Standing Bear or if he just lives there or what. But he called the Post Office, had them find my parcel and stop it going out on the mailman’s rounds. Then we jumped in his car and drove 5-6 miles to the PO so I could pick it up. Maybe he was heading in that direction anyway but it saved me half a day so I am grateful.

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My new lighter weight outfit.

But now I was also rushing to get ready to hike on. What was a 6 hour wait was now all done by 11am. People were coming in now for the new day and several weighed themselves on the scales. One guy had lost 21lb, another 24 and I maybe lost about 8-10. I hurriedly finished my chores and hiked out around 2pm.

A 2500′ continuous climb over 4.4m ended with a aviation authority scanning tower and some decent views on Snowbird Mountain.
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Right after this picture was taken it started to rain, lightly at first but heavier and heavier until I decided to stop my day at 7 miles and duck into Groundhog Creek shelter at 6pm where I found Blaze yet again and Scenario (so named for always considering the worst-case). Scenario called his wife in West Virginia and put me on the line to say hello. Apparently I am invited to their house now. My accent works wonders.

This is how it looks and sounds when hiking the AT in the rain:

Actually I had thought that it was only 5pm and I was feeling fresh from the late start so thought I would cook dinner, see if the rain eased up and do a couple more miles if it did. But the real time was 6pm and it never stopped raining anyway so I set up my tent after dinner and got in just as the thunder started.

Sawyer make the water filter I use. It screws onto a bladder or water bottle. I use a 2 litre bladder from Sawyer also. I figure that’s an ok idea. But the simple cap on the bladder needs to be 100% tight or it leaks. In your tent when you are trying hard to keep things dry because it’s raining. About half a litre of slightly muddy water now pooled on the floor of my tent. I used a Pack Towl to clean it up but it was a case of water attack from all sides tonight.

And then when it got proper dark at 9 I discovered I had left my headlamp at Standing Bear (because there was little light in the room). Not a great evening!

More Standing Bear Farm pictures.

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The kitchen.

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Boots outside the bunkhouse

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Hikers and fowl mixing.

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My bed. Ick.

4 thoughts on “Day 29 – embarking toward Hot Springs

  1. You cracked me up with the bear video, I know how dangerous bear are but your reaction after “saying come on bear” followed by it turning and charging was priceless.
    I reckon the cub being so small it was born during the winter, so it’s only a few weeks old.
    It’s great to hear how well you are doing, love hearing all about the encounters and other hikers.
    Stay safe and well clear of the bears.

    1. Thanks man. I did sound nonchalant and to be fair I was really. I was more concerned with getting to a shower and bed than getting mauled!

  2. Your beard is coming on well. Haven’t seen a wringer since about 1954! Is that a cat or a tiger in the garden? It’s huge. I’m surprised the hens are still alive! Hope your feet, ankle and arm are holding up. You’re doing soo well.

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