It’s pretty rare for us to dedicate a whole post to one place or experience on the trail, the Black Bear Lodge just outside of Hampton, TN happened to be one of those experiences. We planned on coming in for the night to take a shower, drink a beer and sleep in a bed for the first time in two weeks and ended up getting hit by our first “town vortex” and staying for three whole days!
When we woke up the next morning to get back on the trail, Lindsay’s tailbone was irritated and was bothering her so we decided to spend an unplanned zero day for her to recover. After a short discussion with the owners of the place we came to a “work for stay” agreement. Lindsay was even allowed to just sleep and rest while George and I worked for her off day! We ended up getting a pretty good deal in the end; we cleaned out the driveway/parking lot, repaired the cracks in the pavement with some tar and then cut down a few trees dangling perilously over the side of an old barn. It ended up being a lot like WWOOFing, where we spent the majority of our time hanging out with the locals/owners and getting to know them and their family.
We spent two zeros at the Black Bear Lodge so that Lindsay could rest before we headed to Damascus and it was the best decision we could have made. The dogs were welcome to run around the yard, the facilities were rustic but still clean and tidy, and most importantly we felt like we were at home. If anyone is hiking the trail or passing through with and RV, we recommend the Black Bear Lodge more than anywhere else we’ve been!