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[at-l] TRIP REPORT-Pt.4


WED. 4/30  I skipped this day in earlier reports because there was no
hiking involved.  But I decided to add it now for purposes of making a
point about repayment of trail magic or other help--not that all of 
you don't already have this engraved on your hearts  :-))) -- 
	I felt well enough by Wed. to be needing something to do, so I
drove up to Hot Springs.  Had offered to help WINGFOOT, but the poor guy
was so snowed under with his Trailplace work and his thruhiker
journalists that he couldn't take time to get anything well enough
organized for me to do.  So I asked around 'til I found TUMBLEWEED at the
Alpine Court Motel and passed on a message from TAG-A-LONG and we chatted
for a while.  Had a delicious BLT at the HOT SPRINGS CAFE.  Went south of 
town to check out the USFS campground; back to the FS office in town and
picked up some GOOD free literature on the hiking trails in the area and
bought a tree identification book; realized I had waited too late to go to
the P.O. and read the Register (the PO closes pretty early in the aft.);
so went down to BLUFF MOUNTAIN OUTFITTERS to read the Register there. I
got comfy on a big upside-down plastic pail and commenced reading.  Then a
fellow walked in, went up to the counter, and said, "I understand you do
shuttles.  I need a shuttle up to ALLEN GAP."  The counter-person (one of
the owners?) said he couldn't do it because he had to go do an airport
pickup.  I had been asking thruhikers all day if they needed any help and
never got a nibble; now, at 4:30 in the afternoon, I finally got my big
break!!  I could pay back the favor done by the person who had driven me
from Devil Fork Gap almost to Asheville on Monday!  This was a man from 
MICHIGAN who needed to leave his car at Allen Gap so he could come back 
and hike out with his daughter, and her friend, the next day; then get 
off the trail at the gap and drive back to Mich.  They were all 
staying at ELMER'S.  Note: there has been some discussion on the list(s)
about leaving cars at Allen Gap.  This guy had gotten permission from the
person at the little store in the gap to leave his car beside the building
for a couple of days.  So perhaps things are friendlier there than some
people suppose.  HOWEVER, things change from day to day, and the store
owners' attitude could perhaps change if too many people ask for too much.
Since I will have to go back later and do the Devil Fork Gap to Allen
Gap section, it does give me hope of perhaps having a safer way to leave a
car at one end.
	This was actually the day, NOT Thur. 5/1, that I had the bad time
at the Smoky Mountain Diner.  On 5/1 I had a great dinner at the HOT

SAT. 5/3  
	This was "HOT SPRINGS TRAIL FEST...celebrating the 60th Anniver-
sary of the Appalachian Trail" day.  I think the town is hoping to make it
an annual event.  I didn't check out ALL the events, but the flyer showed 
FRI. 5/2 12-6 pm Thru-hiker welcome/registration @ the Visitor's Center in
the red caboose; 5-11 pm Mountain Music Jam.  SAT. 5/3 7-10 am Free pan-
cake breakfast for thru-hikers; 10am-6pm Trail videos/slides/films;
11am-5pm Speakers, music, clogging, storytelling, and prize drawings;
10am, 1pm, & 3pm USFS guided botanical hikes on Lovers Leap Trail; 5pm
Duck race on Spring Creek; 8-11pm Street dance.  SUN. 5/4 Church services
and hospitality at 3 churches. 
	It had rained the night before and the organizers were waiting for
things to dry out a little before setting up on Sat., so events were a
little late getting started.  I had a terrific French Toast breakfast at
the H.S.Cafe; went to the P.O. to read the register; found out RHYMIN'
WORM was in town--a guy who had e-mailed me about MY "worm" trailname;
asked around til I found out where he was staying; walked up the street 
toward that place, and ran into him right on the street! (love that
town); we walked back to downtown and chatted on the way; the speakers
hadn't begun at 11am, so I went to watch videos/slides/films.  It was
videos only, and self-service--they may have had slide shows, etc.
later on that day--so I played an AT video I hadn't ever seen called
"Trail Magic".  Then sat on the grass near the speakers' stage next to the
P.O. and ate lunch while I listened to JACKIE PAINTER who talked about the
history of Hot Springs and the AT and how they intertwined; DAVID BRILL
who wrote "As Far as the Eye Can See" about his thru-hike on the AT; his
introducer, who owns the BRIDGE ST. CAFE; SARA DAVIS from the ATC; JOHN
RAMEY of the USFS; and HOWARD McDONALD of the Carolina Mtn. Club.  It was
very windy and this was an outdoor event, so you can imagine the problems
with things blowing off/down and speakers trying not to lose their notes!
I really enjoyed all the speakers.  In addition to the scheduled events
there were food vendors on the streets, a nice display table by the Appa-
lachian Trail Conference with free literature/maps, and free camping at the
USFS Rocky Bluff Campground.  I thought it turned out well for a
first-time event in a town with such a small population and I had a good
time.  Hope others did, too.
	                 Th-th-that's all folks!  --  "Earthworm"

*                                                                          *
*  Linda L. Patton                  "Nearness to nature...keeps the        *
*  Reference Librarian               spirit sensitive to impressions       *
*  Strozier Library                  not commonly felt, and in touch       *
*  Florida State University          with the unseen powers."              *
*  Tallahassee, FL 32306-2047             --Ohiyesa                        *
*                                           The Soul of the Indian         *
*  Phone: (904) 644-5019                    1911                           *
*  E-Mail: lpatton@mailer.fsu.edu                                          *
*                                                                          *
*                ...the siren call of the wilderness...                    *
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