Hot Springs was a blast!
There was a big music festival in town with 3 stages. They had some great bands and a tent with a reggae DJ that kept me there way too late.
I stayed at Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn while I was in Hot Springs. Elmer hiked the trail about 40 years ago and is a sweet old guy that makes amazing vegetarian meals.
My next stop was Erwin, TN where I stayed at Uncle Johnny’sHostel.
I had a surprise visit with some old friends Emil & Jean Borre who stopped on their way north from Florida. It was nice to see some familiar faces and grab dinner out. Thanks again Emil and Jean!
The following day my friend Crusher joined me and hiked with me for about 140 miles.
I met Crusher last year while hiking thru NH and as you might recall Crusher hiked with me for a section in PA last fall. Thanks again for joining me Crusher!
Crusher was with me for an amazing stretch that included the Roan Highlands, my favorite section of trail in the south. We also made it to Trail Days which is a huge festival in Damascus completely focused on the Appalachian Trail and backpacking. One of the highlights of Trail Days is the parade which was hundreds of hikers stretched out over about a mile and the locals all spray water at us. I can’t describe the feeling of pride and joy I felt while walking with my fellow hikers.
After Trail Days I took a week off to go to my daughter Lyndsay’s graduation from Luther College. You continue to make me proud Bub!
Unfortunately I am now fighting my way thru a serious knee issue that started just before I left for my daughters graduation. It came out of nowhere and I was hoping the long break would help, but unfortunately it didn’t. I’m now only able to hike about 10 miles per day thru some serious pain, particularly on the downhills. After 2,100 miles the thought of quitting entered my mind, but I’m trying to fight thru it. With less than 100 miles left I’ll crawl if I have to!