Tyler woke up covered in itchy, what looked to be, bites on his left side. It didn't seem to be hives and definitely wasn't poison ivy, and our best guess was that it was dust mites. Though there were a fair number of ants milling around in our motel room, we didn't think they were carnivorous.
We headed to breakfast at the Smoky Mountain Diner, where we saw Ka-Bar. He got to town that morning, and as he was from Franklin, NC (a lifetime ago on the trail, 1.5 hours in a car) his wife, Irene, had come to grab him so he could get his resting done in his own home. Lucky dog!
Tenacious and Nighthawk stopped to chat with us a bit after breakfast. Tenacious had gotten in that morning and would be spending the next two nights in town, one of which would be in a fancy room up at the Hot Springs Resort under Nighthawks reservation.
We headed back to the room to get the normal town chores done. Emily worked and Tyler headed out to do laundry. Getting quarters is always somewhat difficult in town, some businesses hate the hikers and send them on quests to other stores which send them to other stores and so on. Hot Springs has a bank right across from the laundromat which made it easy. After laundry, a little resupply at the Dollar General, then a bit of actual afternoon relaxing, which means moving as little as possible and showering.
For dinner we went to the Iron Horse Tavern, then we headed back to the motel to, you guessed it, continue relaxing. Funky and Tyler headed to the tavern to socialize. Tenacious, Nighthawk, Sushi Roll, and a couple of familiar faces, who we had not yet met, No Chill and Spills were also there. Tyler and Funky headed back at the late late time of 9:30 pm. Back to the trail tomorrow, school night!
Just a word on familiar faces. At this point, we have heard that 50% of the starting people have given up, so hopefully that means a lot of the faces we have seen recently will make it all the way! It does seem strange though, that at mile 273, about 1/8 of the distance, half the people are gone. No matter what happens, we have that to be proud of!