April 27: Pictured is the pano from the top of Max Patch, considered one of the best views on the trail. You can see the North Carolina mountains 360 degrees from up there. I couldn’t stay long because of the wind and rain.

We woke up I the rain and hiked 18 miles up and down four mountains. The iPhone says 55000 steps and 320 flights of stairs. Ouch! When I finally made camp, my carbon tent spine broke and I had a leak in my sleeping pad. Yeesh! I temporarily Jerry rigged the tent and patched the pad. The reason for the force march yesterday was to put us within 14 miles of hot springs for r and r. I think I will spring for the 20 bucks for the hot spring spa.

The privy at this shelter has no door and faces the approach trail. Circumstances dictated last night that I brave this “design flaw”. I only had to wave to two sets of arriving hikers as my business was quite urgent and over fairly quickly. Well, it’s 630 and I hear the screech of bear cables so people are bugging out early for trek into hot springs. Only up and down one mountain and the a long descent into town. My trail leads to spa and beers– happy trails to you.

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