Woke up early today to quickly bang out 6 miles before 10am and meet the shuttle Chickapea reserved. Last night was cold, so I didn’t sleep too well, but I was on the trail by 7:30 and feet were walking. Timing was perfect however, as we got to Spivey Gap at 9:56 and the shuttle showed up 2 minutes later. Not bad for a Nero Day.
We checked in to a Super 8 motel and immediately exploded out packs. Gear was simply everywhere: hanging from curtain rods, draped over lamps, spread across chairs … anything to air and dry our stuff out. Then after throwing in a load of laundry, I showered to finish the job of attempting to look and smell somewhat presentable in public.
Side note, the Super 8 has great WiFi, so I was finally able to download the rest of my missing music (yes!) and upload last week’s Recap Video to YouTube (see above).
After getting adequately clean, I strolled into town. Like Hot Springs, the town was basically one main road, though there is also an offshoot section of fast food by the highway and a Walmart a bit further out of town. As any hiker would do, the first stop was to load up on hot food. I never had Bojangles before, so tried that chain out for lunch. Better than KFC, but still just eh.
Then I walked the town and shops. Or more appropriately, I tried to. On this Saturday afternoon, every store in town was either closed for the day, boarded up for good, or just an empty room. I walked into the only “open” store I could find, a Comic Book and Collectibles store. What I was greeted with was basically a scene from the Walking Dead – racks turned over, random leftover items sporadically collecting dust, trash and who knows what littering the rest of the place. Why it was unlocked is beyond me … but I backed away slowly in case any zombies were waiting to jump out.
The one shining oasis in the town, though, was the movie theater. For one, it wasn’t closed. But more importantly, it was actually very nice! A small 2 screen cinema that is only open on weekends and looks old school from the street, but easily compares to any big city theater on the inside. I caught the matinee of Ready Player One (in 3D), having the whole theater to myself, then stayed for a while afterwards to chat with the proprietors. Really nice people that put a lot of money into remodeling it recently and excited for big releases coming this summer. They explained that most people were likely at the local Easter egg hunt today, which is why the town was empty, but that I should return another weekend in the future to see it more bustling. I thanked them for the offer but apologetically explained this would be the only weekend in town. I also have my doubts it would ever “bustle” here.
We made arrangements for a ride back to Spivey Gap tomorrow, where I will get to hike with Fun Facts, Nubs and Culligan again. I gave them the heads up and promised I’d bring trail magic (breakfast) if they could meet at 10:30. They plan to camp close to that gap tonight, so agreed it should work out. I’m looking forward to meeting up again, though not sure I will stay at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel (the common stop for access to Erwin) that I imagine they will. If I go a few miles further, I can stay at a shelter and they could catch me again that next day at a common end point. We’ll just have to discuss such plans over McCafe Lattes in the morning.
Hello Sharkbait (Neiman)!
- Start to Mile: 327.0
- Start Time: 07:30
- End Mile: 332.7
- End Time: 10:00
- Miles Hiked: 5.6
- Miles to Go: 1858.2
- Lodging: Super 8 in Erwin, TN