How to describe a major stop on the A.T.?
My friends in Nepal might wonder, but – Mission Hospital Guest House has some similarities with this place. Very exclusive clientele with a particular purpose, for each place. An ambiance – each person there has worked hard for the privilege of laying around. Okay, the didis at MHGH are hard to top – but for me, each locale is a boutique experience in it’s own way.
The usual pleasant turmoil underfoot upon arrival at Uncle Johnny’s hostel…..a menagerie of everyone who’s been on the Trail with me the past few days & pleasant company indeed. Sarge the innkeeper du jour has been playing with firecrackers, there’s big dogs underfoot, laundry in being folded, arriving hikers are greeted loudly, and out back, other hikers at a picnic table under a tree with cool grass by the cabins. The recent rains swelled the river across the street, which is noisy and brown. I see my hiker buddies from Dallas did *not* come here – they stayed at Holiday Inn Express. De gustibus non disputandem.
I chose a lower bunk in the bunkhouse, looks like three other guys here too. Old National Geographics and such. There’s a fan blowing. Won’t need much from the sleeping bag tonight.
Oh, and the hike –
Started the day with six mile hike into town, once again motivated by the empty food bag, just peanut butter for breakfast. spectacular views into the Nolichucky Canyon, like owning a toy train set when the freight train whistled over the bridge. The ten mile stretch from Big Bald to here was all trending downhill……. Thank God I did this NoBo not SoBo!
The hostel is two miles from town and they run a free van shuttle three times a day to get to restaurants,shopping etc – so I had the lunchtime salad buffet at Pizzas Plus. The police in this town are hypervigilant about traffic, so everyone obeys the speed limit, which imparts an odd feel to the ride, as if this is Disneyland. My hiker buddies Coyote and Outlaw arrived in time to shower and put on clean clothes and at first I did not recognize them…..I think the rest of our crew looked like convicts on a day off. Great to get fresh vegetables with Bleu Cheese dressing.
At the IGA I bought bananas and thought about getting a watermelon.
The hostel has a small outfitter’s shop, and I can get some resupply here. In the bunk room is a “hiker’s box” where people have left food items they decided no longer to pack; and plaintively, there is a box of used hiker’s boots here, like cast off crutches from Lourdes. Mine are fitting me just fine thanks!
Cleanliness is next to ……
A towel is part of the $18 deal for the bunkhouse. I used a bit of hot water but I prefer a cool shower, and as in HNL I have learned to finish the shower with Cold, so as not to emerge so sweaty. Keeping the beard but I did shave my throat. Daubed antibiotic ointment to all my minor cuts and scrapes.
Just For Men?
yes, it comes in gray nowadays. back in HNL, facial hair is associated with homeless persons, I hate to say. Somebody was teasing me about becoming a ZZ Top lookalike…..
Okay, so we deal with the gray hair situation again……. Does the beard make me look “old”? Or “distinguished?” Somebody said I should dye the gray hairs on my chin orange like everyone else does in Honolulu.
I also clipped my nails. Getting ready for an evening on the town! The shuttle goes to a Mexican restaurant this evening. Ole!
Mine was d.i.r.t.y. Yep, it had the smell too – the “hiker’s smell” of which the main component is sweat that has been layered on each day and ground into the very fiber of each item. Nice to get a fresh start.
When I leave here I have about nine days before I take the Fourth of July break. Gotta strategize as to how far I can hike in that time. The forecast is for temps in the 90s all week ( in the valley!). I am not dealing with the heat very well. My best hiking hours are early morning. The Roan highlands beckon me from not too far away – about 35 miles up the Trail. Once I am over these I can lighten my pack a bit for summer, I think. Roan is 6,100 ft elevation but the actual approach climb starts high and is only 2,000 feet – eminently do-able for this huffenpuffer.
I have finished map 3 & 4 of NC/TN – on to the next map, which is 1 & 2.
Anyway I am still having fun. Tomorrow is the Chinese Buffet; also maybe a rafting trip……