Hello friends! I hope that my posts have been somewhat entertaining. There are still several pre-posted entries to come until, I think, next Tuesday.
Yesterday we got off the trail at the Nantahala Outdoor Center and hitched a ride into Bryson City. We hiked about six miles that morning from the Wesser Bald shelter and while there were some hills in the first few miles, it was mostly downhill after.
Originally we were going to just resupply in NOC and keep on going. We heard various things about NOC not having a lot of supplies, and while you could make do, they were correct. For a major outfitter being smack dab on the AT, I would have expected more of an outfitter like Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap. We bought an extra meal for the next three days out since we had two meals left and tried for Aqua Mira but the hikers that came in before snagged the last two and also bought some Yaktrax, well, a pair for me. If I don’t use them I could always send them back, but they are supposed to give more stability on ice and snow—-for the Smokies.
Anyway, we hitched a ride to Bryson City about 14 miles away. It wasn’t an easy hitch either, took about 30 minutes, but someone finally stopped for us and dropped us off and we found an affordable hotel for two nights. Ahhhh, boy was that shower so nice. And the bed. oh, the bed. Sleeping in a mummy bag and it being cold, you don’t get to stretch out all that much. Actually the night before I was able to keep my head out of the sleeping bag most of the night. I can’t wait until I just use the bag as a light cover.
To recap the past week: (I’ll do detailed posts with the photos next week when I am on Chris’ mom’s computer—the hotel wouldn’t let me upload photos)
-Just after you pass the GA/NC line there are really steep climbs that are not listed in the AT Companion book. Our first thoughts were that NC sucked. But then, it got ok.
-Sunday it rained all day long. We got up before it started and headed out, but it rained the entire day. We had to climb Standing Indian Mtn that day and we were dreading it because it was our first 5K mtn, but it had a fairly gently sloping switchback up the entire thing, though the top was covered in ice for about a quarter mile and was quite treacherous. Then it was downhill to the shelter and we got there in good time, about 3:30pm and had a super early dinner and were in our tent by 5pm. However, our tent was leaking from the rainfly and dripping on my bag, somewhat on Chris’ and I didn’t sleep that great that night. And we had a small puddle the next morning. I was peeved. (we called Big Agnes and they are sending a new fly to Fontana Dam for us).
-We woke up to snow the next morning and it snowed the entire day on Monday. Snow was preferrable to rain. We had another big climb that day, Albert Mtn, which is more of a scramble and use your hands kind of climb. Luckily it was a steep but relatively short climb. A fairly easy walk after that to the Rock Gap shelter.
-Tuesday we left camp a little late and then just downhill from where we were we ran into some Trail Angels, three ladies, who were making hot dogs. So, we stopped for about 45 minutes and had hot dogs, Cokes and ding dongs. The rest of the day was sunny and we climbed two balds that day. Siler Bald (there’s a Silers bald soon) which doesn’t take you to the top but you can drop you pack and walk to the top. That was pretty neat. We had to climb Wayah Bald, too, because our intended destination for the night ended up being coverd in snow still on the north face of that mountain. That was a treacherous 1 mile hike through the snow, too. A lot of people were making decisions on skipping the Smokies based on that.
-Wednesday was a fairly good day, some climbing and hills, but mostly a good hike of only 10 miles since we went further the day before. Sunshine day. Climbed the Wesser Bald and tower with great views. Met a lot of new people that day because they had been at the Wayah bald shelter. Two trail dogs. Oh, another Trail Angel was set up before we climbed to the Cold Spring shelter and we had a hamburger, sodas and chips for an early lunch.
It looks like we had a crappy climb out of the NOC tomorrow. We came down in elevation to somewhere in the 1,000’s and late tomorow we have to go over a 6K peak somewhere. It will be a 10 mile day as well as for the next three days after. Then we’ll take another zero with Chris’ mom and probably hit the Smokies. We will be reevaluating our food and time to get to Hot Springs because our original plan was 11 days and that much food carrying sucks.
Nickie: I’m thinking on your question about hardships. I’ll have to answer it next time after I talk with Chris about it.
Anyway…resting up today. Lounging around and probably getting more grub in town.
Oh, in Ashleigh news she is off the ventilator and is up to 3lbs and something oz and also is starting bottle feedings. All of the grandparents have gotten to hold her, too. Hopefully in about a month or six weeks she can come home!