Friday, 4/10 and Saturday, 4/11

AT Miles = 3.2 / 271.8
Other Miles = 0 / 14.7
Total Miles = 3.2 / 286.5

Thursday evening was wonderful; warm, calm, and relaxing. There were 5 or 6 of us sleeping in or camped around the shelter, and we passed a relaxing evening cooking, eating, and chatting around a small campfire.

The forecast called for thunder and lightning storms on Friday morning and when I went to bed I expected to wake up to rain, but when I woke up on Friday morning the sky was clear and the temps had remained mild all night.

I wasted no time in packing my gear and heating water for a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal. The walk down into Hot Springs was lovely and passed quickly, and I and Sir Richard arrived at Elmer's Sunnybank Inn a few minutes before 9:00. Elmer put our names on the waiting list and told us to come back at 11:00 to see if we would get a room or not, then we went across the street to the diner and had a huge breakfast. A few minutes after we entered the diner the sjky exploded in a huge lightning storm.

I barely managed to finish my breakfast, then we killed some time until it was time to head back to Elmer's. For a bit it looked like there wouldn't be enough vacancies for us to get in, but a couple of other hikers who were on the list ahead of us decided on other plans so that opened up enough slots for everyone on the list to get in.

Elmer's is an amazing place. It is one of the oldest houses in Hot Springs, and in most places it would be an expensive B&B, but Elnmer likes hikers and for long-distance hikers he charges only $20 per night. He also offers a 4 or 5 course home-made gourmet vegetarian dinner for $10. I opted for the dinner last night and it was right up there with many of the best meals I've had. Dinner lasted well over two hours accompanied by much conversation, and when I finally pushed back from the table I'm afraid I had overstuffed myself.

It is about noon on Saturday as I write this. I slept great last night and am spending a very lazy day today. I repacked my bounce box and sent it off to Erwin, TN (my next town stop) at the post office this morning, then made a list of the few food items I still needed for the next 5-dasy leg, and went shopping at the Dollar Generasl, the Hillbilly Grocery, and Bluff Mountain Outfitters. I also bought a new line and stuff/throw sack to replace the bear-bagging line I lost tangled in the trees way back at Brown Fork Gap.

My big disappointment here is the the library is closed for the holiday weekend and the only public internet access is one computer at the outfitters. There is a constant line of hikers waiting to use that computer so I couldn't take the time to upload my photos. That process usually takes an hour to an hour and a half. It goes something like this:

– I log onto the Windoiws Home Server (WHS) computer at home via Internet Explorer, then create a new subdirectory in the Photos shared folder to whicvh I upload the photos on the camera's SD card using an SD to USB adapter.

– Once the photos are uploaded, which can take a while over a slow internet connection, I connect to my web server box via Remote Desktop Connection through the WHS box.

– I have Picasa photo editing software installed on the web server and configured to reference the Photo folder on the WHS box, and I use this to crop, rotate, and otherwise prepare the photos for publishing.

– Once I've finished with Picasa I copy the edited photos from the folkder on the WHS box to a temporary folder on the web server.

– Finally, I start a browser session on the local computer I am working from, log into the photo gallery software on my web server, create a new gallery for the new photos, and upload them from the server directory I previously copied the edited photos into.

– All that's left now is to clean up. I delete the photos from the temporary directory on the web server. I also delete the photos from the SD card before putting it back into the camera. Then I create a blog entry to let you all know the new photos are available for viewing.

So, that's what I wanted to do thoday, but I am not going to be able to. Hopefully I will get ample internet access when I get to Erwin, probably on Thursday.

I did manage to log on to the network at home long enough to get the web server running again, since it had died. That happens sometimes, for no explicable reason. I also logged intoJodi's computer and tried to troubleshoot some problems she's been having with Firefox crashing on her, with only minimal success.

Jodi is actually flying to Memphis today for work. We'll actually be in the same state for much of this week, though still pretty far apart and we won't be able to see each other. 🙁

In addition to folod I picked up a copy of Abbey's "Down The River" while I was at the outfitter's this morning, and I'll enjoy reading that in the evenings while hanging in my hammock. Oh, I sent my Thermarest forward in my bolunce box, so I am back to being dedicated to the hammock every night.

Here's hoping everybody has a pleasant weekend, and Happy Easter to those that celebrate it.

Allen Freeman