Home » Uncategorized » Hot Springs, NC for Trailfest

Hot Springs, NC for Trailfest

Most thru-hikers attempting to cover the entire length of the Appalachian Trail become more efficient as the miles build. The nomadic lifestyle we have adopted has more rhythm and structure to it than an outsider would assume. Our visits into town (the few we’ve had thus far) seem to be where we struggle to keep ourselves on schedule. Between satisfying cravings, running errands, and tending to personal hygiene we need a strict schedule to get everything done and back to the trail in a timely fashion.

Knowing this, we planned accordingly before reaching our next town stop: Hot Springs, North Carolina. The official trail runs right through it’s downtown, the concrete sidewalk stamped with the AT symbol the whole way. I say the whole way but the truth is that the entire town runs only 0.7 mile long. On any given day it’s rare that a thru-hiker would just pass through town without stopping, likely unable to resist the ice cream shop and hiker friendly businesses. The weekend we planned on reaching Hot Springs happened to be Trailfest, the towns festival inspired by their close relationship with the AT, something we didn’t want to pass up. We called a week ahead and booked ourselves a room for two nights at the Hostel at Laughing Heart Lodge. Dog friendly, the right price, and a bonus was our welcoming hosts ‘Tigger’ & ‘Chuck Norris’ – former thru-hikers of course.

Thankful for our reservations, we got into town as the rain started to come down. We dropped our stuff and sorted our belongings for the laundromat – everything totaling one medium sized load. In the interest of staying on schedule, we ventured out in the rain to pick up resupply boxes and wash the clothes that were already smelling up our room.

The responsibility of having dogs along seemed to weigh heavier on us when wet. We were faced with signs everyone reading “No Dogs Allowed Inside” – apparently weren’t the first to consider bringing our pups into the unattended building while we waited for clean laundry. With other little options for shelter from the rain we settled for the benches under a less than sufficient awning at the laundromat. The frustration with the rain and our list of things to do was immediately forgotten when we laid eyes on the contents of our resupply boxes. For the first time what was inside was a surprise, and better yet, assembled by our Moms. Never has candy, goodies, hand written notes, and dog treats brought us so much joy! Jack & Lewis perked up at the scent of dehydrated chicken liver despite the persistent drizzle and the two of us devoured Tootsie Rolls like we’ve never had one before.

The remainder of the weekend was spent resting, recovering, and taking in all the Trailfest activities. It seems the entire town is a big bubble of trail magic, Trailfest intensifying the feeling of course. Brent was one of three hikers that ran the 5K race and actually tied with another hiker for 1st place! He spent the rest of the weekend being congratulated wherever we went, and I teased that he was probably Mayor of Hot Springs and he didn’t even know it. We celebrated with ice cream, attended a potluck dinner at our hostel, and exchanged stories from the trail with fellow hikers. The town remained filled with hikers through the weekend and was obviously well stocked with residents who shared the same appreciation for what we’re all out there pursuing.

We were back on the AT by mid-day on Sunday, after cashing in Brent’s winnings (a $15 gift certificate) at the local mini dinner located in a convenience store. It tasted more amazing than most of those reading could possibly imagine. The hike felt good and a true sense of accomplishment set in as we distanced ourselves from the town of Hot Springs we had heard so much about. It is one of those towns that define the trail, a Trail Town in the truest sense, and they are lucky to catch thru-hikers a couple miles in while they’re still optimistic and eager.

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7 thoughts on “Hot Springs, NC for Trailfest

  1. Glad all is well. Tucker and I attended our 3rd obedience training. Tucker is kind of a star even if I must say so myself. I worked with him last night and today, Mom took him on a walk and Taylor did also when he was in Lakefield, needless to say he was too tired to do much tonight, Jerry Moon said I was perhaps trying to hard, he said he was a baby dog and maybe too much. Lex I don’t think he could keep up with his puppy siblings on the trail! Glad all is well. So sorry for the loss of Ruth, what a nice lady and we all will miss her. Our sympathies. Wishing you well and hope you are enjoying every day. Gary just got back from a Turkey hunt with Mike and Matt, they did well and had fun. Picking up branches and sticks (GARY, GARY , GARY) and I will start the spring cleaning at the cabin. Looking forward to the entertainment schedule at Fish Lake. (I do love a good party with friends!).
    Waiting for instructions for a gift package to the trail people and fuzzy people, love you all! Glad you thought of your babbling friend at the babbling brooke!!

  2. Brent & Alexis:
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the picture of the boys in the tent this morning. Such sweet little “angels”!

  3. We Think Of You And Pray For You. May Each Day Be A joyous Adventure! We Love The Stories And The PiCs!

  4. LOVE all of the stories and the pictures. Diane and I were talking about it last week. All of you are doing a great great job. Keep it up but be safe. So far, what is your favorite memory?

    • Favorite memory thus far…hmmmm. That’s a tough one. We spend hours on the trail laughing about encounters we’ve had with others, or remembering the time Brent tripped big time going uphill, among many other things. Overall it’s just the satisfaction of waking up everyday outdoors and knowing we get to spend the whole day walking further on the trail into scenery we’ve never been before. Everyday is a little different than the next and the both of us love the promise that we’ll be enjoying the outdoors alongside the unpredictability of what we’ll see or experience that day.

  5. Awesome stuff guys 🙂
    I figured the AT wouldn’t be enough though… Gotta get a 5k in real quick to get the blood flowing haha. Looking forward to more posts and some correspondence with you two soon!

    • Hey Trav can’t wait for you and Megan to get out on the trail with us. 5k was a little weak, I’m keeping my ears open for word of a marathon or ultra marathon up the trail. Haha.

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