Mile 273.7, Elevation 1,326
This is a zero day ( no hiking). After an awesome breakfast at the Sunnybank Inn, I ran some errands. The first thing was to mail home some items from my backpack that were little used or just too heavy to carry any longer. Of the items sent home, my Spot GPS tracker was one of them. As long as I'm giving my camp position each day, the GPS is redundant (and heavy). Then I went to do some laundry. I put on my rain suit with nothing underneath, so I could wash everything else. The clothes I tried to wash at Standing Bear Farm smelled horrible, so it was time to get everything clean.
Next I provisioned for the last 7 to 10 day on the Appalachian Trail. After all that was done, I repacked everything in my backpack. It will be heavy for the first few days since I loaded up on food and water. I'll first be hiking through an area that was closed until this past Monday due to a forest fire. It's hard to know how the chemicals used to fight the fire will affect water sources, so that's why I'm taking so much.
I'm getting toward the end of my time on the Appalachian Trail. Originally, I had planned on only doing about three weeks of hiking with my first partner. Then he and I expanded that to go all the way to Damascus, VA by the end of May. As you know, we were only together for a couple of days before we split up.
I continued with plans to get to Damascus, but in the ensuing time I heard about Trail Days in Damascus. It's a big festival with a lot hiking equipment vendors present, entertainment, food - in other words, a big party. Trail Days starts May 13 and runs through May 15. That became my new goal. Unfortunately, there is no way to hike to Damascus in time for Trail Days (200 miles from Hot Springs), so the plan now is to leave Hot Springs Wednesday, May 4, and hike to Erwin, TN (70 miles) or as close as I can by May 11. Then I'll probably hitch hike the rest of the way to Damascus.
After Trail Days, I'm heading home. I have no idea how I'll get there, but that's what I'm planning.