18 mile day yesterday ending in Hot Springs. It was a fast hike. The flash of lightening and rumbles of thunderstorms at 4686ft on a mountain side had me in high gear and singing Hail Mary’s as fast as I could. That wasn’t even a close storm. Not too excited to encounter a real storm.
About 3 miles out I texted Carl and Walking Man (Pops) to see where they were. Their reply was still in Hot Springs and heading over to the Mineral healing baths. An invite to join them if I got down in time. And that I did. I literally walked off the mountain, down the one road town of Hot Springs to the far end of town (which is actually the A. T. Trail), up to the spa area and checked in at the front desk. Asked where the showers were and they replied “awe that’s not necessary” I was a drowned wet rat from walking in the rain for 3 hours, but okay) they walked me to where my party was and I jumped in the tub with them. It was quite the experience. I was completely comfortable stripping down to my Smartwool under garments and joining 2 hikers I have only known for a few weeks plus two strangers.
Afterwards I checked into my hostel then went to the laundry mat. While there I snuck over to the Mexican grill and had tacos and chips and salsa as a snack. That was at 6pm. After laundry I met my tub friends at the tavern for a burger and salad. That was at 7pm. My hiker appetite has kicked in. I finished everything except one bite of my burger. Best diet in the world. Walk all day and eat whatever you want.
My foot break is over. Time to start hiking. Short day today, only 11 miles.