April 10, 2017
I am soo tired. Today was the toughest days so far! It started out easy enough. I ate several snacks for breakfast to try and cut through my food excess. There was a pretty good climb but there was a fire tower at the top that had a full 360° view! It was also a good place for a snack.
We went past a pretty charred area but as we descended, the area became a bit greener. There were even a few different types of flowers growing. I was approaching the Nantahala Outdoor Center (affectionately called the NOC) and could hear the nearby river and cars. A few short bridges later and there it was in all its glory.
I bought and printed out my camping permit for the Smokies (they charge for everything!), had lunch, and reapplied my sunscreen. I even got a little ice cream and watched the kayakers go through their course! The day was getting hot and we had about 7 miles to go.
Now, I knew that it was going to be a climb. I knew that almost all 6.9 miles was going to be a climb. What I didn’t know, was that this particular section was made by a bunch of sadists! Have they never heard of switchbacks?!
It took a long time for my lunch to settle and I couldn’t get nearly enough water down. I was not the happiest of campers. Eventually, we made it to the top and I began to put the Savage mountain behind (and/or underneath) me. Shortly after setting up camp, some hikers came by saying they saw a bear half a mile back. I doubt that they’ll come around here, especially with Pipes next door playing his bagpipes. He seems like a pretty happy fellow.
16.3 miles today. Tomorrow is going to be the biggest at 21.9 miles to the Fontana Dam Shelter, a.k.a. the Fontana Hilton. DustBuster picking up a package and meeting up with a friend that she met while hiking the PCT last year who might hike with us for a bit. Should be fun!