Mile 1936.9 (NC): May 13, Hot Springs, NC to Max Patch

It was a nice night by the river. I didn’t even see anybody else camped there. So it was quiet, except for the fast, swollen river flowing just a few feet away from my hammock. 

I was packed up and in town by 8:30. I checked on a package, which seemingly hadn’t arrived. I left forwarding instructions with the post office then went to the town diner for breakfast. Finally I stopped into Dollar General to get a few more food items for the short trip to my next stop, Standing Bear Farm. 

On the way out of town I came across a small box and handwritten note. The box was full of silk flowers and the note asked hikers to wear a flower in condolence for the tragic death of a hiker, and injuring of another, by a mentally unstable person who had come onto the trail threatening people several times in the past few weeks. He had been arrested but was released before this incident. I picked an orange flower and put it onto my shoulder strap. 

I hiked by a guy who noticed my orange tag (2018 AT Thru Hiker) and commented that he had last year’s tag, too. And he said, actually he had four different color tags. I asked whether he had done the whole trail four times or was coming back in a new attempt to finish each year. He said he was still trying to finish and this was his fourth year in a row. I wished him luck and away he went. 

Although it might be cool and windy tonight I decided to try and camp up near Max Patch, one of the best mountain top views in the southern Appalachians. I figured I would risk being a little cold for the chance to see an amazing sunset and, possibly, sunrise. I found a place to set up camp, ate dinner, then headed to the top of the peak to watch the sunset. Sure enough it was very windy and cold up there. It was an amazing sunset and worth the chill. 

I went down to my hammock spot before dark, crawled in, and hoped the night wouldn’t be too windy up here…

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