11.3 miles, 33,505 steps, 447 stories climbed
156.4 miles, 451,456 steps, 4199 stories climbed
Today was a very good day for hiking. Finally the weather cleared up and I was able to see some of the views.
After packing up my soaking wet tent, trying to dry it off as best as I could, I hiked that loooonnnggg mile to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The NOC is a nice outfitter right on the trail and right on top of a river that is set up for white water rafting. A number of people planned on staying there but I wanted to keep moving. I did stop at the restaurant for a nice big breakfast though. After that was the crazy climb up Cheoah Bald. About 3300 feet up. I felt good today though, my blisters are healing and my knees feel much better so I did my best to power through the mountains and was finally rewarded with a beautiful view instead of just a drab wall of gray.
At some point during the crazy uphill climb there was a plaque for a forest ranger that lost his life trying to put out a fire. The plaque was adorned with a number of bracelets and other items.
It’s quite amazing to think about all that goes into maintaining this trail. Having to drag tools and materials up the trail to make shelters and cut down fallen trees and clean up after the horrible hikers that litter (there is so little garbage along the trail it’s pretty amazing!). If only all parks could be maintained so beautifully.