Day 26 – Monday, April 4: Hot Springs, NC (Zero Day), 0.0 miles, 273.7 total AT miles.

Note: There is ZERO cell coverage in Hot Springs. I’m sitting outside the library uploading posts before I head north again.

Hot Springs is one of the few true “trail towns” on the AT. Here, the AT literally runs right through the heart of downtown. We booked a second night at the Alpine Court – itself located in the center of a two block radius of all the stores/restaurants I would frequent today.

8:00am – I woke super early and was surprised everyone wanted breakfast at the the Smoky Mountain Diner. Two biscuits and gravy, side pork tenderloin, half order of French toast – $12.25 plus $4.00 tip.

9:00am – I headed to the laundromat. I wore my rain pants and rain jacket (nothing else) as I washed everything I own. One wash, one dry, dryer sheets (a nice guy gave me some soap) – $4.00

9:30am – With my clothes in the dryer, I headed across the street to Bluff Mountain Outfitters, probably the best outfitter I’ve run across since starting out. 2 Sawyer Mini water filters, gloves (I’m sick of being “ultralight” and using socks as mittens), and a new Mountain Hardware hiking t-shirt. – $78.80

11:00am – With clean clothes in tow, I finally took a long shower.

11:30am – Lunch at the Spring Creek Tavern next to the laundromat. 6 wings, fried chicken sandwich – $14.00 plus $4.00 tip. I can’t seem to stop eating hot wings when I’m in town.

1:00pm – I found out the only barbershop in town had closed over the winter. I really needed a haircut so I walked down to the Dollar General and bought hair clippers and some Little Debbie Nutty Bars – $19.75.

2:00pm – Back to Bluff Mountain Outfitters. I need to buy a new pack. I still like my Gregory, but I’ve maxed out how tight I can clinch the hip belt. I bought a Granite Gear 55 liter Blaze, took it to the hotel and began trying to fit all my gear in this smaller pack. It wouldn’t work.

As I was returning the pack, I realized the post office was about to close. There wasn’t enough time to send my small box of extra gear home to Seattle – it’ll have to wait for tomorrow morning.

I did end up purchasing a Thermarest Z seat and 5 packets of salmon – $22.18.

4:30pm – And this is where things started to get weird/awesome. I recruited Savage in helping me with the back, but I managed to give myself an pretty good haircut. It’s really short on the sides and long and floppy on top.

I gave myself a Mohawk and it looks great (I think).

It looked so good, apparently, that Moon Boots, Medicine Man, Clutch and Owl also wanted one. Somehow, word got out that I bought clippers and was shaving Mohawks into hiker’s skulls for free.


Cool Dad (aka The Barber).
It took about two hours, but I managed to add 14 Mohawks to the AT (including my own). I’m bringing the clippers with me – gotta do touch ups along the way.

5:30pm – Back to the Spring Creek Tavern for dinner. It was hilarious watching all the Mohawks eating and drinking as they moved around the pub. I ate tavern bites (boneless wings) and fish and chips (sub waffle fries) – $16.99 plus $5.01 tip.

7:00pm – Back to the Alpine Court to start cleaning up for tomorrow’s hike. I took a second shower. After chatting briefly with friends and family, I fell fast asleep.

I’m excited about the week ahead. I’ll be stopping in Irwin, TN for a quick resupply in about 5 days – I’m not planning on staying in town.

The weather forecast is calling for snow Thursday and Friday. But by that time, I’ll be 50 or so miles north of Hot Springs, so who knows what will happen.

In this upcoming stretch, I’ll really be testing the limits of my tech gear. I’ve been able to go 5 to 6 days before needing to recharge my external battery – I’ll probably be stuck without the opportunity to recharge for about 10 days. We’ll see how this goes.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

One thought on “Day 26 – Monday, April 4: Hot Springs, NC (Zero Day), 0.0 miles, 273.7 total AT miles.”

  1. A new career!! It obviously looks great or you wouldn’t have such a huge following so soon. Keep up the good work.


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