Today we started with 9.9 miles in mind, but that changed rather quickly as we neared Hot Springs. Hiking to the top of Bluff Mountain didn't have an amazing view (or any view really) but it did have a bunch of boulder formations that were pretty cool. We decided to have a snack and chatted with flipper a bit and then decided to hike on. We stopped shortly after to get some water and even though I use a pump I still get a kick out of the leaf spout-so cleaver! It was another gorgeous warm day and Korey and Lynn were making phone arrangements so I decided to hike on, I caught up with JD it was good to see him again, then I came up on some soda and water trail magic with JD, Flipper, and a couple other people. I decided to make some ramen lunch and drink an orange soda! Once we reached the 6.6 miles to town sign we had already made up our minds we would be rolling into Hot Springs a day earlier than the original plans. The last 3.5 miles were brutal...town was in mind, a lot was downhill which hurts my knees. I had to pee so bad that I stopped on the bend of the trail, and hung off...luckily no one was directly behind or in front of me...it was a constant walk down the length of the town, then a switchback back down town! What a tease! I angrily and hungrily fumbled my way down the trail to the parking lot sat on the curb and ate some fruit snacks to heighten my spirits and sugar level. Lynn's daughter would be meeting us so we decided to find a place to get some dinner, not before cleaning my boots of course...I mean my trail runners. We took the trail down through the woods down steep rock steps and came to my guardian butterfly at the end. From here the trail goes straight through Hot Springs you walk the entire town (.9 miles) on the sidewalk which is pretty cool! The trail is labeled by occasional white blazes but more often are the logo in the cement. Shortly we stumbled upon the smoky mountain diner went inside, switched tables about 3 times during the course of our stay and I ordered a BBQ bacon cheeseburger (this time my treasure hunt item was an avocado, I would have loved some avocado) but they didn't have any so I settled for the burger, sweet potato fries, and a lemonade. It was really good and I ate it all. We hung out at the diner for awhile, Erin was there with Elijah, we saw Aladdin, No Rush, and some other familiar faces, and made friends with an older couple who thru hiked and currently their son is doing it. We said our goodbyes to Lynn (for now) and hit up dollar general so Korey could get a pair of shorts to wear while he did his laundry. I sat outside and took in the culture; there was a man in overalls in one of those motorized scooter chairs, a stroller with two children in diapers in it, and a couple other folk hanging around-naturally, I took a selfie. We walked up to the hostel where we came off the trail and decided to pay $10 to tent on the lawn and shower...yup the past month I have been camping every night for free (with the exception of the Smokies) and now I am paying...once I saw the house they had on the land I was wondering why I was even paying that! It was a nice southern mansion! We set up in the dark, got our towels and I took a good half hour shower. It felt amazing. I steamed that place up good. After crawling in my tent, doing some of my nightly activities, and blogging I heard the train horn-scared the shit outta me! Next thing I know there is a woman talking loudly about not wanting to be here etc. then I see the walls of my tent flashing and an officer introduce himself. WHAT IS GOING ON?! The woman is talking rather loud and I make out that she was offended by a male in the shelter, she called the cops, etc. more was exchanged. The flashing stopped and they were on their way. And I was sleeping on plush green grass! Hard to believe I hiked 13 miles today-it's amazing what real food and a shower does to a person!
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