Day 31 – Hot Springs, damp squib

11 miles into Hot Springs and a chance to recup and resupply.

The “Thru Hiker Special” burger at Smoky Mountain Diner as you come into Hot Springs is a trail fixture, close to being legend and a definite must-have. I covered the remaining 11 miles in just 4 hours in order to have lunch there. Also, I only had one Snickers bar left for food all day so I had to get a move on.

But when I got there I was told the whole restaurant had been hired by the Lions Club for a fundraising ‘dinner’ (it was 11:30am at the time) so no actual diner food was available. They were grilling some chicken. Sheesh, I had worked hard for that damn burger.

Instead I went into a random bar/grill because they had a sign up advertising various milkshakes. I ordered the chocolate shake, a lemonade and a double cheeseburger with sweet potato fries and eventually was told they had no ice cream so no milkshakes. Hot Springs was not going great so far.

Renaissance came over and joined me for lunch. He had gotten in yesterday afternoon and was enjoying his zero today.

Then I walked up to the Hot Springs Resort & Spa and rented a cabin which turned out to be a bad decision – $80 for a tiny shack with no wifi in the cabin, nor a shower, bath, bed linen, towels, pillows or a proper bed with a sprung mattress. Rustic is fine but not for $80+. I will find somewhere else to stay tomorrow night.

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Worst value lodging ever

Having showered in the communal block and dried myself by standing in the sun in just my pants in for 10 minutes I gathered up everything that needed washing and went out to the town laundromat. While things were washing I walked around the whole town (it’s small) and had a chocolate ice cream. I knew several other hikers in town so was stopped for a chat every now and again with a “Hey, Sparky!”

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Most of Hot Springs

The town has no barber so I will have to remain hairy for a while longer. Where do the people of this town get their hair cut?! I asked that question at the town information center and was told by the lady that she and her husband both have long hair so she wasn’t sure. She suggested I ask one of the girls at the bar. I didn’t take up that option.

I had a first pass at Bluff Mountain Outfitters to see what they carry. Excellent food, ok equipment and poor clothing. I’ve got a few things to look into tomorrow when I feel fresher; this afternoon it was all a bit overwhelming.

Back to the cabin with my lovely fresh laundry and I cleaned and dried all my gear and took stock of repairs and replacements to be done tomorrow.

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Cabin of evil.

I had a nice ribeye steak and beans for dinner with two beers. I could feel the effect after just one. Then back to the cabin to sleep in my own bag with my own pillow.

I often – usually in fact – go back to previous posts and add to them when memories recur or for technical reasons. I just posted a video of hiking in the rain in Day 29 if you want to enjoy that aspect vicariously without needing to wear rain gear.

4 thoughts on “Day 31 – Hot Springs, damp squib

  1. Typical Phil, concerned with grooming ! Just go native, keep the beard, grow a ponytail..its all part of the AT ;)

  2. You seem to be in a good routine and your posts will be invaluable to other thru hikers…tho not good publicity for hot springs! Hope things continue to go well.where will you be when England win the world cup?!?

  3. I see people with long hair and beards in these hiking blogs and I don’t understand it. Almost every time I hike here in Florida I end up with at least 1 tick (horrid little creatures). My understanding is that they are just as bad most of the way up the trail, so when I finally get my hike in I plan to be bald and clean shaven as much as possible.

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