4/7

Did 14.4 miles and rolled into Hot Springs before 1pm. Hiking was hard, especially in the morning. I think it was because I did the 22 mile day yesterday. My legs felt like cooked spaghetti. It got better as the day went on though. Climbing down off of Bluff Mountain took forever. The trail zig zagged everywhere.
The last three miles into Hot Springs were the fastest miles I’ve hiked yet. I did it in less than an hour. I jogged down the hills some. Coming down I could see the town and just went faster and faster. I got into town with Minnesota Pete and Hand Stand. The Laughing Heart hostel is right off the trail. Right next to the trail parking lot. I got a bunk and met Mark who works there. I took a long hot shower, then washed a few clothes in the sink. Hand Stand and her former hiking partner Fred Bear were reunited and I put on my wet, freshly washed clothes and went to the bar with them. I stopped at the Wash Tub to put the rest of my clothes in an actual washing machine and then later hung them up to dry at the hostel. Beautiful, warm, sunny day. Someone was out mowing their lawn.
The trail goes right through town here. There are AT symbols on the sidewalk. At the Wash Tub I ran into Pumpkin Head (or King) and Ice Man. That was a happy reunion. We’re staying at the same hostel. Later I watched the NASCAR race with Push Up at a different bar and learned all about racing. Then I went back to the first bar I was at and met up with Doc, Spider Kisser, Pumpkin Head, Ice Man and Doc’s parents. They all were eating dinner, but I had already filled up on garlic fries. Yum. I went to the Outfitter too and bought a wool t-shirt. Finally found one! It’ll stink less than my synthetic one. In the evening we had a fire outside the hostel. There were at least a dozen hikers and we swapped stories and laughed and drank beer. Great time.

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4/7

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