Appalachian Trail: Day #29
Hot Springs, North Carolina: Zero Miles
Total AT Miles: 273.7
In a soft squishy bed I wake ready to tackle the day. First order of business? Breakfast! I turn the dial of the two-burner hotplate to high adding a stick of butter to sauté onion and tomato. While they cook, I crack a dozen eggs over the compost bin scrambling them with a bit of milk from the fridge leftover from a previous days hiker. When the veg is ready the eggs are added along with a bit of fresh, steamed broccoli donated by Jenga. Then, we feast!
Our next order of business is hostel work. Tie takes me into the first of three bathrooms and demonstrates the cleaning procedure: toilets bleached, scrubbed, and wiped down with paper towels. Wash hands. Shower bleached, scrubbed, and sprayed clean. Sinks washed, floor swept, and all surfaces commonly touched thoroughly bleached as well. No Norovirus here!
While I’m taking care of bathrooms, Orion is cleaning and preparing the rooms for the next visitors. In all, our work takes about 45 minutes before we are free to enjoy the rest of our stay. More than fair I’d say. Thanks Tie!
The highlight of the day is definitely the hot springs for which the town is named. For around $15, Dr. Kool-Aid, Orion, and me, Kodak, soak for an hour in warm, mineral springs. For the highlight it is, you’d think I’d have more to say besides wonderful and relaxing! But that they were. The warm spring water – I wished it were hotter – relieved our bodies of the weeks of tension caused by the lives we carry on our backs.
For dinner we splurge again eating at the towns finest restaurant: Iron Horse Station. The Iron Horse used to be the towns train station and still bears the high ceilings and brick walls. I order fried chicken that comes cooked to perfection. I’m not kidding when I say it’s the best meal I’ve eaten in months. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve been eating ramen and mac ‘n cheese every night!
To top off our already wonderful day, we join friends at their rented house for a bonfire. Someone tosses in a packet of powder that turns the fire blue and green. Beers are pulled from the fridge and a bottle of moonshine fresh from the hills is passed ’round the circle.