We got into Hot Springs, NC early on the 21st after an easy 3 miles, had a great breakfast at the local diner, then checked in to our first hotel stay of the trip at Laughing Heart Lodge. We spent the day lounging in the sun with friends, eating more than our share of high calorie foods, soaking in the local hot springs, sleeping in comfortable beds and taking hot showers. It was vert restorative.
Robinhood spent the 3 mile hike in at the heels of a highschool biology teacher who goes by Mowgli, discussing many of the things he’d learned from Ms. Nell. They covered the size of a star necessary to create a black hole (many times larger than our sun), the temperature of the sun (27 million degrees F at its core’ 10 thousand degrees at the photosphere), the reason red blood cells lack nuclei (to carry more oxygen and to fit through the capillaries), the life span of a red blood cell (120 days), the method white blood cells use to squeeze through capillaries (diapedesis), the number of capillaries (enough to get to nearly every cell in the body), and many other topics. Then at lunch on the lawn of the Laughing Heart Lodge, Mowgli taught Cartwheel and Robinhood something you don’t always learn in highschool biology: how to walk on their hands. Neither of them are yet at Mowgli’s level (he can trot around endlessly), but they have made surprising progress. Cartwheel’s whistling continues to improve as we’ll.
We continue to meet and learn from remarkable people along the way. The woods throws people together to form deeper friendships more quickly than the walls of civilization allow, and we are surrounded by a group with interesting stories and skills. This morning we’ll say goodbye to the oasis of hot springs and head back to the woods to continue our long walk home.