I’m currently at Gorgeous Stays Hostel. It’s a pretty awesome hostel that’s located really close to the NOC. I only did 11 miles today because I wanted to resupply before I get into the Smokies. Here is a rundown of the past few days.
We were dropped off at Deep Gap at around 2:00 by Zen from Gooders Grove. We really took our time to leave. 2:00 is typically an unconventional start time for people coming from a hostel, but we did nonetheless.
We didn’t want to stay in between Deep Gap and Gooches Gap because there was bad bear activity according to Farout and hikers we had passed by. The Bears had apparently found ways to bring down bear hangs as well as roll away with bear cans. In North Carolina, there are no cables or boxes at the shelters to my knowledge.
We got to the famous fire tower that marks 100 miles on the AT. The view was incredible but it was 7:00 so we couldn’t stay too long. We had to walk an additional 3 miles to the shelter we wanted to stay at.
We got to Long Branch Shelter around 9:00. There was someone still up and we enjoyed a nice little dinner with her. Her name was Area 51, and she had a dog with her named Bug. Bug was very cute, and I’ve decided I will use him as baitclick. She told us about the trail magic she got and her and I attempted to do a PCT hang. I almost hit myself with the rock sleeve multiple times but we eventually got it up.
Miles: ~17 miles
We slept in until 8:00 and started the trail a little after this. Goal was to have an easy day that will set us up easy for a hostel stay near the NOC. While hiking we met a father dad hiker duo named Doug and Dodge. They were from California, and they had made a last minute decision to hike the AT. I hiked about 10 or so miles with them. Also met three ladies from Georgia section hiking that were great to talk to.
At the road before the big climb to Wayah Bald, there was trail magic! Glamour, Heavy Duty, and Pipeline were so gracious to pass out oranges, sodas, candy, and of course, MOON PIES! I had never had them before. I had a lemon, a chocolate, and a banana. Lemon was sneakily the best.
I got to the top of the Wayah Bald observation tower and observed a storm coming. I quickly put on my rain gear. First time putting all of these on. Was curious to see the effectiveness of it. Unfortunately it didn’t rain hard enough to really see how well it worked.
Got to Cold Stream Gap around 7:00. Avoided the shelter and went atop the hill where the campsites were. Amazing location where you can look down upon the Nantahala Valley. Doug and Dodge were there as well.
There were some section hikers from Tennessee who had a fire going and they were nice enough to let me enjoy the warmth of the fire. Went to my tent around 11:00 that night and had a great night of sleep.
Miles: ~23 miles
Woke up around 5:30. My goal was 10 miles before 10:00. I hustled down the trail and made it to the Wesser Bald tower. STORY TIME!
As I walked up the steps there was what appears to be bear scat at the third step from the top. I got to the top and enjoyed the view. To my surprise there was a collapsed free standing tent up there. It appeared people had camped there and abandoned their tent. I went down and continued down the trail. I then ran across some section hikers who asked if two men were still up on the tower. I told them there were no men up there but they insisted that two men had spent the whole day and night up on that tower. A story was developing. I then told them that all that was left was a collapsed tent and bear scat. Hmmmmmm. We all looked at each other and put those pieces together. Could those two men have been up there enjoying food (and apparently they were intoxicated) and a bear decided to investigate? Is that why the tent was abandoned? Could a bear have made its way to the top? Who knows?
I got to the NOC around 11:00. The restaurant wasn’t serving lunch yet so I just waited for the shuttle from Gorgeous Stays. The owner of the hostel who picked me up was amazing and drove me to a hotdog place where I got some hot dogs to satisfy my hiker hunger.
I am now enjoying myself at the hostel watching Grownups on Netflix while eating a calzone and drinking sodas. Onto the Smokies!
Miles: ~11 miles
Oh! I just watched a great documentary on Hulu called Hillbilly. Highly recommend watching it. Learned a lot. It’s about Appalachia!
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