Monday, April 18, 2016 6:36 am

Matt asked, in response to my complaint that the shelters were "always" uphill:

"Wouldn't all (well-designed) shelters be uphill? I think being in a valley or downhill slope would make drainage a problem, or consideration in the construction."

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Hot Springs AT Sidewalk Emblem
Location: Hot Springs, NC / Laughing Heart Hostel (273.7 miles)

Low-key day today. For a number of reasons, Beast and I zeroed in Hot Springs. We got a really late start to the day (on account of breakfast with Beast's parents); Beast and I wanted to get the outfitter to look at our packs and advise what we might adjust to reduce the strain on our shoulders (moving the sternum straps on both our packs appear to help; the real test of that will be when we actually hike tomorrow); and my ankle, which while better and could probably have made the hike, was still sore and in need of more rest.

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Sign at Garenflo Gap
Location: Hot Springs, NC / Laughing Heart Hostel (273.7 miles)

This one's going to be short.

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View West from Max Patch
Location: Garenflo Cascade (265.8 miles)

Friday was a terrible trio of uphills. Really slow going; we did our 15 miles at just less than 2 mph.

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"UFO" Communications Tower
Location: Brown Gap (250.4 miles)

Thursday was a 10 mile day, from the road to the hostel we were evacuated from, to Brown Gap. Relatively short, but also very uphill (over 3500 ft of elevation gain). We got started somewhat late, around 10:30, after a delicious continental breakfast (with waffles!) at the Best Western, with Beast's parents, who dropped us back off at the trail where we left off. (Thanks again!)

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