16 AUG 14
TN/NC Section 15 (Hot Springs Area)
Hot Springs-Tanyard Gap
Miles today: 5.5
Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. –Dag Hammarskhjold
My alarm went off at 0630. I knew I was going to take forever getting everything organized and ready for my hike, so I didn’t lolligag around in bed. The AC last night kept oscillating between ice cold air and a moist breeze. Oh well, I appreciate the fact that I had it at all.
Once I reorganized everything around in my truck, again, I set off for the public parking lot, and was stepping off across the French Broad River. At the end of the bridge, the trail switches back beneath it, so you have to hop over the guard rail. There were several double blazes indicating this, but having read it in the guidebook was a help too.
The trail went past a field and parking area and past a few houses. I noticed one of them had a rather large Confederate flag flying. That’s the 4th or 5th one I’ve seen so far; they seem to be a lot more prevalent here than I’m used to. Oh well. Just one more thing to be aware of. The trail paralleled the river, and I stumbled upon several campsites, some occupied. Across the river I could hear country music playing at another, larger campsite. It irked me to hear it all the way over here, when the morning is supposed to serene and calm. That, passing the Confederate flags, and walking along the river bank with random fire rings and tents around gave me a weird feeling- not really uneasy, more like unsettled. I didn’t care much for it and was happy to start the incline up Lover’s Leap.