Ok, I am still waiting for hot posts to come back, but in the meantime, a friend who is more technically inclined than me pointed out that there is a way to avoid at least most of the scrolling to get to the bottom of a post to see new replies on a post you've already read.
Try this solution:
1. Open post using the 'reply' link; This skips the OP and takes you to the first reply
2. Click on "Add your reply"
This takes you straight to the bottom of the screen where the reply box is; then to see the new replies all you have to do is scroll up a bit. This is especially useful for long replies, especially if you've seen most of the older ones.
For the majority of posts, this is a great way to get in and out of a topic quickly.
Of course, you still have to go back up to the top for the board link, but still...