After a fun night in Hot Springs, I was awakened by Tandem, who was headed into town to get coffee and read her book. I packed quickly and quietly so as to not awaken Lobstah, who was cowboy camping beside my tent, but before I left the beautiful campsite beside the French Broad River, I woke her to tell her that I was leaving.
I went into town and went to the Hiker’s Ridge Ministries Resource Center. There on the porch were Nick, who had been in town for 3 days, and RW, who came into town yesterday, like we did. We talked about the town, restaurants, and the Center. Hiker’s Ridge has beverages, fresh chocolate chip cookies, homemade popcorn, DSL, and computers, and they will take your picture for the large screen slide show of hikers who have come through town. There is no AT&T signal in Hot Springs, so DSL is the only option.
Queen Diva showed up, Nick had moved on to the trail, RW went for a computer, and I settled on a couch to talk to Queen Diva. She put on coffee and started some cookies baking. Other hikers already in town came by for information and to get their pictures taken. I broke my rule and downloaded the Facebook app, since Tandem was tagging me in pictures and friends were commenting on our AT hike.
I ate some cookies and started chatting with Kozi on Facebook. Turned out she and Bison had made it into town last night and were at the Smoky Mountain Diner having breakfast. I told her where I was, and five minutes later Bison was there at the door to invite me to breakfast.
I told him where Tandem was and he went to get her, too. I headed to the diner to order a $3.99 breakfast platter. After breakfast, Bison, Tandem, and I went to the Bluff Mountain Outfitter due to me needing a tube for my hydration purification system, Bison needing something repaired, and Tandem needing two stakes to replace a misplaced pair.
We had pizza and beer for lunch at the Spring Creek Tavern. Tandem and I ate with Biscuit and Lobstah. Biscuit was doing a lot of slack packing, so we hadn’t met him yet. Many hikers were gathering in town for Trailfest 2014 weekend, which Tandem and I had decided to skip in favor of leaving midday tomorrow midday.
After lunch, Tandem and I went to the Hiker’s Ridge Ministries Resource Center and created our colored name signs and have our picture taken. Other hikers were there for the same reason. I drew a bad yellow jacket for Buzz and Tandem drew a 2-seater bike. After pictures, Tandem wanted to download her electronic book, but I interrupted with the suggestion that we do laundry and check into the cabin.
We combined some laundry and created an average load. While Tandem tried to locate Lobstah and her remaining articles of dirty clothing, I checked into Cabin Two at the Hot Springs Resort. It is a two-story cabin with a bunkbed — double on the bottom and twin on top. The upper floor has a double bed as well. Tandem and I took the bottom double, Lobstah took the twin, and Bison and Kozi took the upper floor double.
I took a shower, and we drank beer and looked forward to the town’s potluck dinner for thru hikers that night. I left early to find a geocache and move the laundry to the dryer then wandered around town visiting with hikers. We all gathered later for the great potluck dinner, and everyone had to introduce themselves. There were many more hikers there due to the upcoming festival weekend.
After dinner, we sorted laundry and went food shopping at Dollar General. We will complete the restock with additional items from the Bluff Mountain Outfitters in the morning. Tandem, Lobstah, and Kozi all went for a Hot Springs Mineral Bath at 21:00 and just got back happy and refreshed. They said that there is a 7:15 spiritual gathering tomorrow morning, so we will be at the diner early for breakfast.