At the shelter, Neo had asked for me to wake him up when I got up at 5:30am, so I did. He woke up and fell right back to sleep.
During the morning hike, I stopped to fill up water. While doing so, I accidentally dropped my hat out of my backpack. After I hiked into Hot Springs NC, I was chilling at the hostel. While I was resting, John who had stayed at the same shelter last night, hiked up and handed me my hat. I was astonished as I had no idea that I had even lost it. He said that he recognized my hat on the ground.
John has just graduated with his masters in Mechanical Engineering.
At the hostel, we were talking and decided to go to a restaurant that everyone recommended, the Smoky Mountain Diner. While we were waiting to order, Neo came in and joined us. I ordered a 20 oz hamburger. It was gigantic. It had cheese, tomatoes, and onion rings. The diner offers a challenge, if you can eat the entire burger and fries, you get peach cobbler for free. So I did, I ate a hamburger that weighed the same as my sleeping bag! Unfortunately, I was so full that I couldn't eat the cobbler I had just won, so I gave it to Neo.
After lunch, Neo and I went to Dollar General (there was not a grocery store) where I purchased food for the next 3 days. On my way out of town, I saw Wanimal and asked him if he knew where he was going to camp that night. He said he was planning to stay at the first shelter about 11 miles out of town. I wasn't planning on going that far at the time, so I told him that I would see him down the trail.
Hiking with that hamburger was not fun at all. I think I could feel it in my belly at least 4 hours after I had eaten it. I hiked slowly and stopped at a camp site about 2 miles from the shelter. I was about to set up my tent, when Wanimal hiked by. He encouraged me to go with him, so I jumped up, laced back up my hiking shoes, and joined him.
We finally arrived at the shelter around 7 pm and it appeared that we were the only ones there. So we had dinner and right before we went to bed, we heard a stick crack and the bear line squeek. I poked my head out of the shelter, and it turned out there were at least a couple people staying in a camp site up the hill. Still no bears.
Walnut Mountain Shelter to Spring Mountain Shelter
Location: Latitude: 35.95198, Longitude: -82.78998