Mile 1916.4 (NC): May 12, Tentsite to Hot Springs, NC

The morning was rainy again, as expected. I usually take down my tarp first when it’s not raining, which is usually the case. But today I got more practice packing everything up while under my tarp. It went pretty well and it was nice to have a protected place to pack.

I hiked along in the rain for a few hours. There are a couple positives about hiking in the rain: first, you don’t need to drink as much water, which saves time stopping and filtering. Second, with everything wet, your mind accepts your feet being wet, so you can just splash away through all the puddles, which also saves you time trying to avoid muddy and wet places. But you do have to be more careful with potentially slippery areas, which slows you down a bit. All in all, I think I go a little faster in the rain than on warm days.

Eventually the rain slowed, then stopped. The rain held off most of the afternoon with only a few showers here and there. I passed more hikers than I expected, both today and yesterday. There were fewer than on good weather days, but still about 15-20 per day. 

And finally I passed some familiar places. I had hiked out and back from Hot Springs last May for a test run. I was surprised how much more quickly and easily these miles passed now, even late in the day. 

Right before town there is a nice river area with many little campsites. The river was running wide and fast due to the recent rains.

I set up close to town then walked in to grab a bite to eat before returning to the river to sleep. I planned to pack up in the morning, finish errands in town, and continue hiking before noon. The trail goes right through the center of this little town which makes things easy. Hot Springs is one of a handful of true “Trail Towns” on the AT.

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