10-26-09 day 146
start: The Sunnybank Inn @ Hot Springs, NC
end: Walnut Mountain Shelter, TN/NC
daily mileage: 13.1
total mileage: 1919.6
We got our typical slow start from a hostel that we always do, but had big plans of pulling 19 miles. I was all packed up and lacing up my boots when Sea Monster suggested that we cut it down to 13 and update the blog. This seemed reasonable (we don't want to get 25 days behind again) and we went down to the library. After a few hours there getting the blog fully up-to-date, we found a bookshelf with $0.25 books for sale. Despite the fact that I have a Kindle and was already carrying one other book, I picked up Dune (a deal is a deal!). Sea Monster was incredibly excited when he found a copy of a children's book he'd been talking about for a while, "Miss Pickerel and the Geiger Counter." I read it later, and the book is every bit as good as the title.
We stopped by the Post Office afterwards and picked up a care package from Sea Monster's mom (contacts and gloves for him, and delicious Kisses and fudge for both of us!) and Sea Monster finally mailed home his trusty companion, the Black N' Red. This is the journal that he's been writing in every night (more or less) with details about the day that we use as material for this very blog. The Black N' Red served us faithfully for 138 days before getting filled up. Though the green composition notebook he's now using is technically just as good, I know it will never replace the ole BNR in our hearts.
Just before we went off to eat lunch, Sea Monster then found some abandoned trekking poles at the hostel! In fact, they're almost exactly the same as the ones he found in Vermont and lost in D.C., except they're red! We're finally both quadruped again! After lunch at a sandwich shop, we were finally ready to hit the trail at 2:30.
It was a big climbing day - almost the whole day was a steady uphill from the relatively low elevation of Hot Springs. We summited the mighty Bluff Mountain (which we'd basically been climbing the whole day) just before we made it into camp, and slid in just before dark. There was just enough room for us in the relatively dilapidated shelter to squeeze in next to 3 section hikers; Icarus, Buffalo, and Root Beer Float tented outside the shelter with another 2 section hikers.