Monday, 11 June – Nantahala Outdoor Center
|Destination: Nantahala Outdoor Center
|Today’s Miles: 11.7
|Start Location: Cold Spring Shelter
|Trip Miles: 145.5
It continued to thunderstorm for a while last night followed by on and off rain. Things were pretty wet in the morning. I packed up a wet tent and food bag. I was packed and hiking by seven. The morning was misty, obscuring any views. Today was mostly downhill. I was heading for a mail drop with food at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) and then on up, up, up, until I could find a place to camp. The next shelter would have been an additional seven miles and added to the twelve to the NOC, would have been too many.
I passed about a half dozen section hikers an hour or so before the NOC. I arrived at the NOC around one and picked up my package. There is lots going on here, rafting and kayaking. There’s a general store, restaurants, the outfitter, cabins and bunk houses. Lots of traffic and people. I headed over to the restaurant for a hamburger and fries. While there, I checked the weather forecast. It predicted thunderstorms and three tenths of an inch of rain. I was not too excited thinking about trying to find a campsite, set up a wet tent and sit through another thunderstorm ⚡. Another hiker had told me earlier on the week that when he got to the NOC, the bunk house was full. I decided I would check expecting it to be full. Plenty of room available. I checked in, picked out a bunk and showered. Rinsed some clothes, dried out my tent, opened my mail drop and sorted my food. With a good cell connection and electricity, I can update my journal and do some planning.
As much as I would like another restaurant meal, it is hiker food tonight. I have too much and will be leaving some in the kitchen. Tomorrow starts with a 3,300 foot climb so I plan to get an early start and get as much done as I can before it warms up too much.
Of course since I decided on the bunk house, the afternoon thunderstorm ⚡ never materialized. I will have to see if it rains overnight although you can never complain about a hot shower.