After being passed, I caught up to Freefall in Hot Springs, NC. We neroed and zeroed. It was excellent. The highlight was indisputably the hostel. For twenty bucks a night we stayed in a mid-nineteenth century manor. It’s full of antiques and staffed by hikers. One, recognized me immediately from this blog (hey!) I sat around in comfy old chairs and on a large second floor porch talking with hiker friends and reading from the house’s library. Elmer has nearly the same type of collection that I’d have if I had a collection. Another highlight were the vegetarian gourmet communal meals. Truly one of the best hostels I’ve been to.
Today, I helped Butter reoutfit. We sat at a computer and I chose a new backpacking setup for her. Once everything arrives, she will go from perhaps a twenty three pound baseweight to an eight or nine pound one. For the rest of the trail, she will be enjoying a true ultralight setup, with likely the lightest setup that I’ve seen out here. All told, the changes were made for about $800. Not bad for a new stove, pot, tent, pack, pad and sleeping bag.
After noon, Freefall and I finally hit the trail. We sill managed about fifteen miles. No views as we were walking through the clouds. We also stopped by a trail angel house to get some water as an “unreliable” spring was indeed dry.