It was a cold night as the temperature dropped into the 30s. I was able to keep my upper body warm by wearing a fleece. Unfortunately, my socks didn’t provide enough insulation. Brooklyn, a guy I first met on Springer Mountain, suggested Heat Holders socks. He showed me a pair and they looked quite warm. Brooklyn is sleeping in a hammock and seems to know about keeping warm.
I arose just before daybreak and saw an incredible sunrise! I watched it for about half an hour before I pushed on for the day. This was to be one of the shorter days, with only a small amount of uphill and a lot of downhill.
The first stop for the day was the Wesser Bald fire tower. What a great view. Spent a lot of time on the tower enjoying the scenery. There were even 2 chairs on top to sit on to enjoy the scenery. After about 20 mins there, I headed toward the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which would be the end of the trail for me this time. Although it was mostly downhill, there were a few uphill portions. There was one particularly treacherous right turn that, if you missed, you would go over the edge – I didn’t bother getting close enough to see how far you would fall. I was grabbing the trees all the way around the corner! The descent was quite difficult on my feet as there were lots of rocks and tree roots and my feet were being jammed into the front of my boots on each step. After a couple of hours I made it to NOC and checked in at the store. My hike for this year was over! I was both sad that my friends would be going on to Maine without me and glad for a warm bed that night.
NOC is a pretty cool place as there was a fast flowing river to soak your feet in and they have a whitewater kayaking school. Would be fun to do sometime.
Had dinner with Rodeo – she was headed out to Fontana Dam the next day, another 30 miles. I was happy for a hot shower.