NOC Zero Day

This is the view of the Nantahala River from the restaurant patio.

Miles hiked today, more than I wanted to on a zero day, due to the giant hilly hike up to the base camp, where the bunks and cabins are located. Of course the restaurant and stores are down at the river, about a fifteen minute walk.

I slept in a bit, but my internal alarm seems to have been reset. Sometimes I go to bed at 7:30 pm and wake up at 4 am. This morning I was up around 7:30 and wanting eggs and coffee. I saw Houdini out, so we trekked down the hill, down the trail, across the railroad tracks, across the river and to the restaurant. We saw some hikers, a brother and sister eating with Rabbit and Dan. Houdini had met them before and we joined their table. I got an omelet and a biscuit and added gravy to it. Plus coffee.

We visited and eventually hiked up to our bunks. At some point Candy Cane, No Doubt, Blue and Indian Brave all came off the mountain. Some of us went back to the river, and I soaked my feet in it and Rabbit got Fig Newtons from the hiker box and I ate some and hand fed some ducks just the pastry part.

Rabbit, Dan and Brother and Sister rented rafts and went down the river. Candy Cane and I shared a load of laundry and then he hit the trail. About an hour later the skies opened and a downpour commenced. Poor Candy Cane and other hikers out in that rain. I sat warm and dry in my room of four bunks that I had all to myself, and spread out my tent to dry. And I ate chips and drank Pepsi and studied my maps and trail guide.

I showered in the afternoon and then headed to the outfitter, hoping for anti fungal ointment for my feet, but they had none. Ran into several hikers there and we went to dinner, where Blue, Houdini and I split a pizza while drinking beer on the patio over the river. The rain ended and the mist rose over the river as the sun set. It was beautiful.

Then Houdini, Indian Brave, Dan and I sat talking by the river long into the night. I got bit by a lot of bugs, but it was great. I even got a new bite on top of the nearly healed psycho bug bite. Oh please, can somebody help save me from the bugs without living six solid months in 100% DEET or a full body net suit?

Finally, to top off a wonderful day, Houdini introduced me to some awesome music, including Omnia. I said, "This would have been great to listen to on that observation tower." He said, "What do you think I was doing for two hours up there?"

I think that is a great way to pair inspirational and soaring music with this beautiful scenery. Maybe I'll try that. I'm such a copycat out here. And I was also a night owl tonight, more like my normal self.

I'm excited to get back on the trail tomorrow. I feel restless, ready to see more of the trail and the Smokies. We have been warned about the seven miles of uphill tomorrow, so I'm planning a short day, only to the shelter.