Beware the NOC!
The Nantahalla Outdoor Center is an amazing center for rafting, kayaking, biking and zip lining. They make delicious food, offer an excellent beer selection and best of all you can drink ANYWHERE on their property! That being said it can quickly become a money pit and place for perpetual zeros. Part of my trail family, Boogie and Sweet D mentioned to me that there should be a sign warning hikers before hitting the NOC telling you to just grab a beer and keep hiking. There should also be a sign warning hikers that the BBQ restraunt isn’t open Sunday’s and Monday’s. I don’t even know if you can even technically call it bbq since they don’t offer brisket on their menu but that’s another story. Boggie and I hiked from Cold Creek shelter to the NOC virtually not stopping because brisket was they only thing we had on our minds. So when we arrived we were very dissapointed to say the least. It’s terrifiying how powerful the very thought of food is to thru hikers. Once it’s on your mind you can’t shake it.
If you stop at the NOC it’s very tough to leave but if you do decide to take a zero here grab a beer, burger and sit by the river. It can’t get more relaxing than that! I wouldn’t suggest bunking there though since it’s very over priced and their rooms are stuffy. I would suggest going just up the road to the Thunder River rafting company. It’s great place to stay and is very tranquil. They’ve got a very kind staff working here and it feels like a summer camp for hikers. You can either tent on site for $9 or stay in their bunks for $11, significantly cheaper than the NOC. They also offer hot showers and free shuttles to and from the NOC. Best of all though, the price to stay here includes FREE rafting! That’s not a typo. Rafting is included with your stay!
My trip has been amazing so far and I’ve met so many kind and impressive individuals out here on the Appalachian Trail. I’ve made friends for life in a little less than a month. Im just so grateful for meeting my trail family! Dr. Greenthumb, Fat Man Walking, Gadget Girl, Funkle, Sweet D and Boggie thank you all so much! Oh and if you haven’t heard yet GG named me Daddy Long Legs so I’ve got an official trail name now!
Nothing will prepare you for this adventure. No words can describe it and no pictures will do it justice. It’s just something you’ve got to experience first hand. I encourage all of you to get off the couch and go explore your local trails. You’ll meet some amazing people out there and maybe even make a friend for life!
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