Monday March 25, 12.3 miles/19.8km
Kale Gap NC (262.6) to Hot Springs NC (274.9)
The three of us got going early, at 7:15am. It’s always exciting on a town day! Captain and CloseCall were being fueled by thoughts of coffee, but I was daydreaming about milkshakes…
The trail started off with a nice 1000ft/300m climb up Bluff Mt to get us warm.
There weren’t really any views from the top, but we could see the sunrise through the leafless trees. On the way down the mountain, we found… danish of mystery!
I guess someone left it in the middle of the trail? Captain devoured it without a second thought, haha.
A few miles later, near Deer Park shelter, we passed a random and creepy old graveyard.
On of the graves said, “lost but not dead”. Huh. The rest of the trail was an uneventful cruise into Hot Springs, and we covered the 12 miles into town by 11:15am.
We had some rain the last 5 minutes, but otherwise we avoided the rain. Perfect! We checked into the Laughing Heart hostel, showered, and walked down to town for lunch.
The trail goes right thru town, and even has its own sidewalk markers, cool
After lunch at the Smoky Mountain Diner, the 3 of us were joined by Birdman (AT ’15), a friend of Captain’s who had driven in from nearby Asheville. We checked out the gear at Bluff Mountain Outfitters, and then off to the hot springs!
It’s a small resort, and they pump the mineral springs water into plastic hot tubs (hygienic reasons). It was a nice soak for an hour, and then it was time for 2nd lunch/1st dinner at Spring Creek Tavern. The pizza & wings hit the spot. After a quick resupply at the Dollar store, I went back to the hostel to relax for the night, and watch the rain from indoors. Good day!