I am currently in Hot Springs, NC. I took a day off yesterday at a popular hostel right off the trail. Even though my knees and feet feel great, I decided to catch up on some relaxation and take my first zero day. The legendary Baltimore Jack was there. He was cooking lunch and dinner for some of the hikers. I asked Baltimore how many times he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and he meekly said, nine. I believe he has the record for most consecutive times (8) but there may be one or two who have hiked it even more. Yesterday I spent the day drinking Yuenglings in the can, eating ice cream, and watching movies. A hiker picked Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2.
I re-evaluated my mileage requirement to get to Damascus for the infamous Trail Days hiker festival. I need to average 16 miles a day to be there by the 16th. I am hoping to collect a few stories and character profiles while I am there using my digital voice recorder. The current plan is to get a ride back to Atlanta, get my car and drift up through PA and NJ. I would continue 500 miles away from Maine, most likely in Vermont or New Hampshire and finish out the last 500 miles hiking to the northern terminus. If I don’t find an easy way back to Atlanta at Damascus, then I will hike up to Harper’s Ferry and take a train to DC and eventual bus down to Atlanta. Everything is pretty much up in the air and I am just enjoying the stroll. It has been interesting watching all the trees and plants and flowers bloom and the difference in elevation between them. The bugs are starting to wake up as well. I have seen very little wildlife, no deer or bears just an owl and lots of squirrels some of which are too bold for their own good. I am hiking solo but keep running into an older guy named Ace. He thru-hiked the AT in 2003 a year after I did the first time. I think the next stop will be Erwin, TN about 4 days away hopefully I can blog from a better computer than the one I am using now.