Day 26 (April 18th): Roaring Fork Shelter to Hot Springs

Miles hiked today: 18
Miles hiked total: 273.9
Miles to go: 1911.4

Well, today ended a bit differently than I was expecting. The original plan was to camp out at the shelter 4 miles before Hot Springs, but at the last minute I decided to push all the way into town. The thought of a nice, warm meal was too appealing to pass up!

Despite pushing on and hiking my biggest day, my body wasn’t feeling too good. My leg muscles were stiff all day and at the end of the day my feet were screaming! I can’t wait to get my trail runners!

Wing It, Stylez, and I were planning on only hiking to the shelter today and then getting up early tomorrow morning to get into town before the post office closed. However, all day I kept running into people who were planning on hiking a big day to get into town tonight so that they could have not 1, but 2 Zero days. Two Zero days!! How that sounded so nice to me! Get into town earlier than expected, eat a nice meal, and finally have cell reception to call my parents!

I was still uncertain on what I was going to do until I ran into True Story, Twist, Tigger, and the rest of the gang at Garenflo Gap where Tigger’s parents and sister were there doing trail magic. They brought water and fresh fruit – my kind of trail magic! The larger group was planning on pushing on to town, and once I caught up with them, hiking an 18-mile day into town seemed reasonable. I figured, they had 6 miles left to hike and it was only 3:00 or so, so why not hike the remaining 6 miles with them? The day was young and they kept talking about the restaurant they were planning on eating at and I suddenly knew that I’d be at that dining table eating dinner with them.

Stylez decided to stay behind at the shelter and stick to the original plan because her knee was hurting her, but Wing It ended up hiking into town with the rest of the group. The majority of the hike into Hot Springs was downhill, which I was thankful for because my legs were still really stiff and struggling on the uphills, but I moved very slowly on this descent. My feet were crying out in pain with every step I took. I just kept telling myself that this is the last time I ever need to hike in these shoes, and the minute I get out of the woods I can put my crocs on and toss these sneakers in the trash! The thought kept me going and I eventually stumbled off the trail and onto the sidewalk where Boss, True Story, Muffin Man, and Wing It were waiting. We waited for Wiki and then went to the Iron Horse Tavern for dinner.

We’re camping out on the trail tonight along the river that runs through Hot Springs and there’s a roaring campfire going. Everyone’s just taking it easy by the water tonight. We also ran into Woodstock and Pipe, who got to town a couple of days before us. Pipe is flying home tomorrow because his section hike is now over, so I’m happy that I’m able to spend time with him on his last night!


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