Two Days in Franklin, Two More on the Trail

If you read my previous post then you are aware that I lost a crown from one of my molars on Friday morning. I immediately stopped at the next shelter where I had signal, with hopes of being able to make an appointment for Monday morning. Turns out all dentists in this area are closed from Friday to Sunday. Looks like I was not even going to be able to speak to someone to try to schedule an appointment until Monday.

Day 14 – 15: Onward Hostel, Franklin, NC

I made arrangements with Onward Hostile to stay for Saturday and Sunday night, and tentatively for Monday. This was a great move, as Onward runs a fantastic hostel. It has five bunks that sleep a total of 10: two bathrooms, a kitchen you can use, and a small resupply closet. He also supplies loaner clothing you can wear while showering and doing laundry. Ultimately, I stayed through Tuesday morning, making this a double zero long before I anticipated taking a single one. But I couldn’t ask for a better place to do it.

I got a ride with some other hikers into town for a few hours both Sunday and Monday to get a good meal, resupply, and just look around. Turns out Franklin has the only Tartan Museum in the country. I spent near an hour chatting with the proprietor, pouring over my family tree, and figuring out which tartans actually would be applicable to my ancestry. I also had some quality Mexican food at Los Margaritas, and a decent burger at a 50’s themed diner named The Motor Company Grill.

Monday morning was spent on the phone calling every dentist in Franklin. Almost everyone was closed for the week because of Easter. I eventually found one 40 minutes away that could see me the following morning at 8:30, even though they don’t technically open till 9:00. I found an amazing shuttle driver named Sherpa Al, who agreed to pick me up at 7:30 in the morning, drive me there, wait for me, and then drive me to the trailhead. So after 2 days in Franklin, I’m back on the trail.

Day 16: Winding Stair Gap to Cold Springs Shelter (15.8 miles)

Today is a big day. Miles wise. The views were interesting, but nothing that blew my mind. However, this is the first day I was choosing to do over 15 miles. A day to assess how my muscles will deal with this and that I can do it again tomorrow. At the end of the day my heels were tight, which is generally a symptom of not doing yoga in the morning (which I didn’t because of my dental appointment). Otherwise I felt pretty good, and got a good night’s sleep with amazing views of both a sunset and the sunrise.

Day 17: Cold Springs Shelter to Nantahala Outdoor Center (11.5 miles)

Breathtaking! This day exceeded any expectation I could have had. I hiked a long ridge lines with endless views and was amazed, humbled, and grateful. Today I actually cried at the beauty of the landscape around me. Then I walked down a steep and slightly terrifying descent until eventually I reached the NOC. This was a tourist destination worth spending some time at.

But before that, I met 32 Feet Up, a family of 16 attempting the trail. I spoke to Mom for a few (more on YouTube) and learned it was 13 children thru hiking, one child section hiking, and one child driving support. I was kinda blown away and really hoping I can chat a little more cause I’m so curious and amazed.

And then I crested onto a Ridgeline with unbelievable views for the next few miles. Started off with an observation tower with incredible 360° views. I spent too much time up there.


About 3 miles before I hit the NOC, I met another hiker who mentioned he had registered a cabin. He invited me to join him for the cost of a bunk, and I was ready to take a break, so I accepted. We checked in and immediately went our own ways. I went to the welcome center and received the package Angela sent to me.

I proceeded to the restaurant to have a fabulous chicken sandwich and a couple beers while unpacking my care/resupply package. There were personal notes, emotions ensued, moving on…

Turns out I’m taking a little extra time here. I’m going to go kayaking with a woman I met a.few ago. Hopefully there will be photos.

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