4/6/2018 – Day 28

No Business Knob Shelter to Erwin, TN – 6.2 miles

A fairly easy hike into Erwin this morning. A few climbs, but nothing real big or long. Mainly just a decent into town. I stayed in a cabin at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel (trail magic from mom). Nothing special. Just a room to myself with a giant bed. The space to myself was a great change, even though the ceiling leaked when it rained. The sewage system was down at the hostel, so the showers and toilets were not working. They had to bring in porta potties and a woman who worked there let me (secretly) take a shower in a private bathroom in a cabin that had not been checked into yet. Got a free shuttle into town to an $8 all-you-can-eat pizza place. Also got ice cream to eat later. For dinner, I ended up hanging out with a group of guys from Ohio here to fish and a group of rafting guides. The fishermen made sausages and potatoes, the rafters had beer, and I had a p-bone. Best night sleep so far on the trail.

I listened to music for the first time on the trail this morning. I was up early that I didn’t see any other hikers out on the trial, so I felt okay playing my music without using headphones. I was craving some jazz music and thankfully had service to be able to use data to listen to some Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. I listened to their music a lot on the AT and learned “Summertime” from a recording of theirs. That was easily my favorite piece of music to play while out on the trail. Anyone I spent a lot of time with on the AT can tell you that if my pBone was out, I was most likely playing “Summertime.”

As my mom and I were planning her visit to meet me in Erwin, she said she had reserved a one person cabin for me to stay in instead of bunking in the hostel. She will meet me the next day with her extra pack since the one I had been using started to be too big and would fall down past my hips as I was losing weight on the trail. The cabin was a small space, but I welcomed the privacy of a room and bed to myself for the first time in a month. Unfortunately, there was a leak in the ceiling and while the room was mostly dry by the time I got to Uncle Johnny’s Hostel, a corner of the bed was still a bit damp. All the other cabins were full but I didn’t mind the one I had already. They left the fans in there and by the time I actually slept in the bed, it was dry.

There was another unfortunate problem at Uncle Johnny’s while I was there. The sewer system was down so they did not have working toilets or showers. They had porta potties set up for guests to use. That was still a step up from squatting over a cat hole so not a problem for me. I was talking to one of the women working who checked me into my cabin about the sewer system being down and she offered to let me use the shower in their biggest cabin that was connected to a separate system from the one that wasn’t working right now. A big group of people were coming in later to stay in it but she said I had enough time to get myself clean before they checked in. The hospitality of people along the AT never ceased to amaze me. I was more than happy to take her up on her offer and thanked her profusely.

Uncle Johnny’s Hostel is right along the AT, but it is a bit further off the trail to get into town. The hostel offers shuttle rides a few times a day to an AYCE pizza buffet, a Dollar General, and a market. I ate my fill of pizza and sweet tea and got my resupply at the Dollar General that was right next door to the pizza place. While looking for food, I found pints of ice cream being sold for $2 each so I got two of those along with a giant honey bun for breakfast the next morning. The ice cream was gone before I went to sleep.

Back at the hostel, I heard from some other hikers that a big group of fishers and rafting guides from Ohio were offering food to any hungry hikers so my dinner was set. It was pretty cold that night and also pouring down rain but thankfully they had a big tarp tent set up that fit a surprising amount of people under it. I wish I had taken a picture of all the food because there was so much there along with coolers of beer. We chatted about my time on the trail and how all of them met each other fishing and rafting. All of the guys in the fishing groups and the rafting group were from Ohio so I was able to connect with them very well. While I grew up in South Carolina, my grandparents on my moms side live in Ohio along with some of my cousins. These guys were super nice and really knew their way around a grill. I went to bed that night happy and with a full stomach.

The thru hiker diet is not a healthy one.

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