Day 13 – March 20 2017 – 0 miles – Franklin NC
Gooder Grove Adventure hostel was a hostel that was converted from a private home. The owners name was Zen and he was a interesting guy. Before running the hostel he was involved with his families printing business. He did a lot of trail work and also taught kung-fu. He had recently expanded the amount of beds at the hostel. Basicaly any room that wasnt the kitchen, dining room, or living room had bunks in them.
We had arrived there the previous evening and saw Brian for the first time in a few days. More and more hikers started to trickle in until there was about 20-25 of us. It was probably the biggest group of hikers we had been on so far.
In the morning we decided to take a zero due to my knee pain. We decided to grab breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen, a local diner. After that we took a tour of the town.
Franklin was a great trail town. It had several restaurants, two outfitters, a supermarket, and a bar called the Lazy Hiker. It was pretty hilly though and my knee didnt like that so much.
We stopped into Outdoor 76, one of the local outfitters, to pick up some heavier winter gloves. They were out of almost all of their gloves. One of the workers said they couldnt keep up with demand. We wound up buying what they had left over. When we were checking out the cashier let us know that free beer came with our purchase and pointed to a back corner. They had their own tap room set up! We decided to pass on the free beer because it was only 10 AM and we had some other things to do.
We walked over to the supermarket to resupply then walked back to the hostel. I wanted to ice my knee as much as i could so I spent most of the day flopping around the hostel.
While there, we got to know the other workers at the hostel.
Hiccups – she had hiked the AT southbound last year and wanted to still wanted to be in the hiker crowd. She at one time worked as a seamstress for a theater company. She was also super stressed. She was the shuttle driver, cleaning person, laundry cleaner and booking agent for the hostel.
Beast- He looked like he could pick up a person in each arm with ease. He was a quiet guy, but pleasant enough when spoken to. At some point he had Thru hiked. He also had the same responsibilities as Hiccup.
Both of them lived there and worked basically from when they woke up to when they went to bed. They looked tired and it was still early in the hiking season. I could only imagine how busy it would get when the Bubble came through.
–The “Bubble” is a term that refers to a very large group of hikers that forms when a lot of hikers, unbeknownst to each other, start around the same time.
One of the reasons we started on March 8th was to avoid The Bubble. Hikers can volutarily register thir start date online. Doing so allows other hikers to see what dates should be avoided to reduce overcrowding. March 8th fell in between two Bubble dates, March 1 and 15. It was also the middle of the week which is a less popular time to start. —
Around dinner time Stoat asked Beast for restaurant suggestions. One place was mentioned and Beast said ” Oh, you dont want to eat there. Thats fu fu food.”
Discussing this comment later Stoat said “I like fu fu food!”
We decided to go to the Lazy Hiker. It was hiker friendly and had good beer and great food. They also had a banner that all 2017 thru hikers could sign.
When we got back to the hostel one of the hikers ( Woodbury ) decided to make dinner for everyone. Spaghetti with sauce, salad, and a few other things. We had no problem eating a second dinner.