April 10, 2000

Braemer Castle Hostel, Hampton, TN 7 Miles Hiked Today 414 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Laurel FallsGot up and hiked the main trail to outside of town. I debated taking the blue-blazed trail (a blue-blazed trail is a "side-trail" that leads to something like a scenic point or is a workaround the main trail -- sometimes shorter, sometimes longer) which cut off 5+ miles and a mountain climb, but decided against it. I hit the "main" road about 10 a.m. and started towards town, thumb high. The 6th car stopped after I had gone about 1/2 mile. Thanks to Anthony White! Got into town, checked into the hostel, did laundry, went shopping, ate, relaxed, showered, etc. Sullivan Brown and his wife, the owners of the hostel, are great. They let me use their personal washer and drier and make hikers feel welcome in general. The hostel itself is a gigantic old stone house that I believe was part of the railroad system that use to go through here. It is now gone as it was here only in the old logging days. As a matter of fact, the areas I walked through yesterday with the 30-40 ft. sheer rock walls was where the railroad used to run and had been cut into the mountain.

Bramer Castle Hostel?Hampton is small town Tennessee. It has two locally owned restaurants, a post office, a dollar general, two gas stations (one with a Subway -- Roadrunner Texaco), general run-down old buildings, a trout farm (you catch it, you eat it!), several used car lots, and some junk stores.  At Jack's where I had lunch, you can get the following (which I did) for only $8.00; soft drink with free refills, a salad, green beans, macaroni salad, an open-faced roast beef sandwich with gravy and mashed potatoes, two rolls, cake, a piece of gum, tax, and tip. Yes! Brown's grocery is old school. One half is old-style grocery store with mostly canned goods and dried goods and a few frozen items. The other half is hardware, general goods, some toys, and feed. For example, 50 pounds of pig starter, whatever that is. Current feed prices are listed on a chalkboard. Hampton is the kind of town where you know your neighbors and when you walk down the street people sitting on their porches respond or actually initiate contact with a "hey." It is nestled in the mountains, has a lake, and a few people have fences (why do we usually have fences...to keep others out or shut ourselves in?), and you don't worry about locking up after yourself. It would be perfect if if wouldn't bore you to death. The quiet and friendliness is nice, though.

Tomorrow I am off again. 14+ miles planned, but I'm not sure what time I'll start. Either 8:00 or 10:30 depending on when I awake and can get a ride from the Browns. I could leave when I want and hitch again I suppose. Weather report: 50% chance of rain through Friday (that means 100%). Miles so far: 413. To go: 1747.4. Is that all?

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