Mile 284.7, Elevation 3547 feet
Well this morning started out with a little drama. I couldn't find my wallet. After searching my room at Sunnybank Inn, I went down to the restaurant where I ate the night before and waited for them to open. When they did open, the owner looked around but no wallet. I checked in at city hall, but no one turned it in. To say I was in panic mode would be accurate. Finally, I went back to my room and tore it apart. Found it. The wallet got shoved under a blanket while I was repacking my backpack.
Because of all the drama, I headed out late, 11 AM, for the first shelter on the trail (Spring Mountain Shelter). It would be an 11 mile hike with the heavy, fully loaded backpack. Along the way, evidence of the forest fire was everywhere.
The French Broad River is located on the edge of Hot Springs. The picture of the river was taken pretty high up on the mountain outside Hot Springs. You can see the results of a forest fire just brought completely under control within the last week. Rangers had just begun letting hikers back on the trail a couple of days before this.
I got to the shelter at 6 PM and pitched my tent. About an hour later it started raining and continued all night. What a mess in the morning it will be to take down the tent. Temps are supposed to be in the 30's, so I'm not looking forward to that.