Day 28: May 12, 2022 Deer Park to Laughing Heart Elevation Profile +2977/-4412 4.5 Miles; Total 274.6 Miles

The sound of owls late at night is enchanting. Around 1-2am, this loud owl kept on hooty hoot-hooting. He or she would make it’s noise and before I could hooty hoot back, it would hoot again. I remember my daughters friend who wanted to be a naturalist. He went to school, learned all these bird calls for distressed birds, mating bird calls, warning sounds and happy go-lucky bird songs. For his final, they played bird calls from 50 different species. His job was to identify what type of bird it was and what the bird was trying to say. Evidently he did so well that he was offered an internship in Utah as a Bird Naturalist. How I wish I knew what the owl was saying as I laid in my tent. It was an incredible song of sorts.

The Great Horned Owl

I woke up at my typical 530-545am and headed out of camp before 7am. Blue was taking her time but she would catch up. I slowly waltzed down the trail and immediate scared a white tail deer. I knew it was a deer because all I saw was her tail moving through the thicket. She was graceful and never looked at me.

Campsite in the Morning Sun

I ran into Solo, as he called himself, leaving the shelter just north of me. I asked if many stayed and he said just a handful. He mentioned that the Privy was unusable as it was filled to the brim with “you know what.” The carpenter bees (bubble bees as I know them) invaded the squatters potty and no one could go near. The fact it was at the overflow mark, I thought, why would anyone want to use it anyhow?!?! Hence the reason I dig a six inch cat hole and do my business in the privacy of the forest!

Appalachian Plaque near Hot Springs

Blue caught up as I was taking in the sights of Hot Springs. We had a short hike and all we could think of was Judy. Judy was on her way from Knoxville and planned to spend the day with us. We checked in at Laughing Heart Hostel, received a tour of the grounds and headed straight to the laundry. Blue found some loaner clothes and took a shower. I mingled with all my hiker friends that I hadn’t seen in a bit. Sea Legs and Sam, now called Late Owl, were the first that I saw. He comes into camp every evening by the time everyone else is cooking and pitching camp. Night Owl has a bum knee so he’s a bit slow on the trail, but keeps moving, one step closer to Maine daily. Sea Legs and Night Owl are my friends who lived in Wasilla, Alaska where my sister and her family reside. They are the cutest couple!

Sea Legs and Night Owl on trail

By 11am, Judy arrived as I was getting out of the shower. She brought Greek yogurt, berries, oranges, Sparkling Water, IPA and Marys Crackers for Blue. We put a dent in the food, and then, proceeded to the restaurant for lunch. My appetite is definitely kicking in. I ate blackened trout with two sides of green salad. We sat at the Fire Inn for sometime and walked into town. I’m talking a two block town that has everything a hiker might need. We picked up postcards, stamps, inserts for my shoes, fuel canister and baby powder. I think that’s it. Such a deal, a one stop shop!

The AT Continues Through the Town of Hot Springs

After milling around town, we checked out the Hot Springs Resort. With a name like that, there must be something to it. Well, glad you asked! There are mineral hot springs that run through the property. We booked our private tub by the hour and soaked. It was on the river with fresh mineral water piped into the spa. We had such a relaxing soak, Blue, Judy and I. Afterwards, we stopped and had ice cream to finish off the day. Judy drove us back to our Hostel and she went back home in Knoxville.

Soaking with the Girls in Natural Hot Springs Tub

So today was a Nero. Little miles and mostly rest. As I walked back into the Hostel, Potato and Rapunzel were cooking. These are the two that I cooked a gourmet dinner at “Around the Bend” Hostel on my first week. Rapunzel was making breakfast for dinner, pancakes, sausage and eggs and asked me to join them. Oh boy, oh boy! I loved every bit of it. We talked about places they might like to live, Spain, Portugal or South America? After much debate, they are planning to check out Portugal. So nice to be young and the world is your oyster.

Laughing Heart Hostel

What a perfect day. I sure have been blessed with family and friends. And now I have a new community of people that I care about. One of the best parts of long distant hiking is the relationships you make on the trail. The Appalachian is no exception. In fact they call it the most social trail of the three. There are so many hikers that touch ground here. If you’re an introvert, this could be a tough sell. But if you are a bit like me, then you may find this slice of trail, perfectly acceptable. And I truly believe Jesus would love this trail! There’s so many to break bread with. It perfectly suited, for both of us.

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

2 thoughts on “Day 28: May 12, 2022 Deer Park to Laughing Heart Elevation Profile +2977/-4412 4.5 Miles; Total 274.6 Miles

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