Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update from Lauren - Hot Springs, N.C.

Max Patch Bald

Ben and I arrived in Hot Springs, NC early this morning after a 3 mile descent from the mountains.

Our first stop was the Smoky Mountain Diner in town, and we sipped cup after cup of coffee as we sat in our booth catching up on 3 days of journaling. Our server, Patsy, was used to taking care of thru-hikers and gave us a warm southern welcome.

Directly across the street is our hostel. Elmer's Sunnybank Inn is a white Victorian house from 1840, and richly decorated inside with old antiques, ecclectic library and unique furniture. He caters to vegans and vegetarians, and we are in for a delight tonight with a 4-course dinner prepared by Elmer and his kitchen staff. He has a nice yard with a garden where we were able to spread out our belongings and organize some food boxes for the next 3 weeks.

Tomorrow we get ready for Trail Days, the largest thru-hiker gathering in the country. This year it takes place May 18-20 in Damascus, VA. There will be free food, lots of equipment and gear vendors, guest speakers, talent shows, eating contests and free food, and the famous thru-hiker parade on Saturday morning.

From the sounds of it we're not sure if we will love or hate it, but we're certainly looking forward to a 3 day break before getting back to the mountains on Monday, May 21.

Somehow a former thru-hiker from D.C. (Hi Matt!) found our itinerary on the internet (maybe here or at ?) and called Elmer's before we arrived with a message that he'd like to come pick us up and drive us to Damascus. How cool!

That's all we know for now. Lauren and Ben.


  1. Hey Ben & Lauren,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog so much I just had to say so. The descriptions are so visual that I feel I am living vicariously through you two. I am sending you prayers of safety.

    In those time of hardship take a deep breath and enjoy your surroundings.

    Take care,
    Kathleen aka neighbor on commonwealth

  2. Hi Ben & Lauren!
    You all amaze me! It's one thing to hike the AT, but to do it while eating RAW...I think that qualifies you for some type of world record!

    Have fun! I can't wait to catch up with you when you come back!
    Sarah Garcia (using Carlos' gmail acct)