On The Side of the Appalachian Trail: Wanderlust Fever
"Please use caution when camping, hiking and swimming as there are holes, rocks and critters of all types and the river can be dangerous!" If that statement was not enough to entice me to pitch my tent in the Hot Springs Campground on the banks of the French Broad River in the Pisgah National Forest, the rumble of the slow moving freight trains and the fact that the Appalachian Trail actually runs smack down the old sidewalk of this mountain town was. The river, wind and smell of pine smoke seduced me to quick sleep only to be awakened by a big splash. Was it a bear? Of course my trusty never used bear spray that always accompanies me into bear country treks - and this place is a kingdom for bears - was secured locked in my car. Dumb me. Most likely a big fish I thought, and I slipped back to sleep in my 5-star tent accommodations that have once again stirred wanderlust fever. Dawn sent me scrambling up a local peak - Lover's Leap - and treated me with vistas of the river, the bridge over the river (Backpackers on the Appalachian Trail as well as cars cross the river on this bridge) and the Pisgah National Forest. And now it is time to explore the town of Hot Springs a bit more, a place that draws me and holds my interest, a down to earth town rich with natural (eons of geological events including magma heated hot springs) and unnatural (the site of a WWI German prisoner internment camp) history. But before the sun sinks today I must start heading north, doing my best to avoid the expressways. For I-75 and other ribbons of highway speed travel deprive one of seeing our country as it is, and the people in the towns for who they are.