Day 11 – Winding Stair Gap to Wayah Bald Shelter

11.0 miles, 30,676 steps, 371 stories climbed

129.6 miles, 373,030 steps, 3468 stories climbed

Trail Magic Moments: 7



Today was a pretty slow day. I just couldn’t get moving today. I woke up in the morning and started packing my stuff and just barely made it in time to catch the shuttle back to the trail.  Thankfully, I managed to wake up before the alarm I set (first time I’ve set an alarm for myself in 2 weeks by the way, turns out I didn’t need it.)
As I sat on the shuttle with the rest of the hikers a friendly and very funny German got on the bus to say goodbye to some of his hiker friends. (I had not met him or his friends before this. They were moving on but the German man was staying in town another night)
I believe the German’s trail name was Dirk or certainly something similar. He got on the shuttle and immediately announced to everyone, in his very thick German accent, “I got so drunk last night!”
He then told the story of how he went to a bar that had some bluegrass music and happened to meet a woman who had moved to Franklin NC from Germany about 12 years ago. She brought him to another bar when the music was over and the two had too many drinks.
After his story the other hikers asked him about where he was staying. Dirk had chosen a bunk in the hostel over a room in the motel. A fellow hiker asked him how bad the snoring was.
“I don’t know, I’m busy sleeping.  Let those who are awake worry about stuff like that.” Dirk replied in his heavy accent.  We all laughed and then the bus drove on, chatting it up. I just love the vibe that hikers have. 
The shuttle took us over to another motel where I was pleasantly surprised to see Sycamore board the shuttle. It was great to see him but I have a feeling that it was probably the last time. We only got to speak briefly about where we both planned on spending the night and I knew he would hike further than I had planned, I’ve known that we were holding him back and it was only a matter of time before he went on ahead.
It’s a shame, it would have been cool to witness him finish his triple crown (that’s when you complete the PCT, the CDT, and the AT) but hopefully I’ll get to see pictures from his Facebook. He needs to go his own pace because he doesn’t plan on stopping at Katahdin like most of us, he plans on continuing up on the IAT (International Appalachian Trail) which continues on all the way to New Foundland.  He knows he won’t be able to do the entire thing continuous because of the weather but he wants to go as far as possible.  I wish him the best and hopefully, our paths will cross again.  Best of luck Sycamore!
I started my hike with a nice little waterfall right off the road of Winding Stair Gap. Again, today was just a very slow day, even hiking. I was easily the back of the pack which I would pay for later but I was fine with it.
I hiked alone most of the day, with mostly comedy songs streaming in my head, Lonely Island, Weird Al, Jon Lajoie, Epic Rap Battles etc., and thought about how I haven’t really listened to music that much while I’ve been out here, which is surprising considering how much I love music. I almost never hike with headphones in, I prefer the sounds of nature but haven’t really listened to it while in camp or town.
About an hour or two into the hike the skies opened and the rain came down and refused to quit. I made a poor when choosing pants to wear this morning, going with my light beige ones. Let me just say it’s a good thing I didn’t listen to most hikers advice about hiking without underwear because if I had, everything would have been there for the world to see. My pants were so soaked they became see through.
It was a very cold, wet and rather miserable day for the rest of the hike. I came across a rock tower on the top of Wayah Bald, which had been put there to give a great view of the valley, but once again a heavy, dense fog prevented any view.  Oh well! 
I continued on towards the shelter as the cold rain really started to soak into me. I was tempted to stop and start adding layers as I got colder and colder but decided against it since I was so close to the shelter, this way my warmer clothing would still be dry.
This is where my slow speed hurt me, when I got to the shelter there was no room and I was left with no choice but to set up my tent in the pouring rain. I believe I got my tent set up in record time.
I quickly went into my Hermit mode and hid in my tent and immediately started changing into warm, dry clothes and crawled into my sleeping bag to warm up.
Then, I enjoyed the deliciousness of a peanut butter and Nutella wrap. (Has anyone caught on to how much I love peanut butter yet, just curious?) It wasn’t long between the food, warmth and music, that I was happy and dancing in my little tent.
Now, I will just lie here and listen to some good music and read, which I also haven’t done in a few days and eventually have some nice hot chocolate to drink.  A warm front should be coming through overnight so the temperature won’t drop much and tomorrow will be a much warmer and drier day.
How’s the weather been up North?

3 thoughts on “Day 11 – Winding Stair Gap to Wayah Bald Shelter

  1. We had that rain Saturday that you had also. I just couldn’t imagine hiking in weather like that. Did I tell you how proud we are of you? Dad follows you on his e-mail and I show him your pictures so he doesn’t miss anything. He has also shown people at work when asked how you are doing. Please stay safe and I pray the weather gets better for you. Love and miss you. ❤

  2. “happy and dancing in my little tent” – best quote of your trip so far! Don’t see how you could care about the transparent pants (the other hikers are right about no underwear, BTW) since you were hiking alone. And could you please take a photo of a fog shrouded valley for the rest of us? It might not be the view you were hoping for, but it could be spectacular in an entirely different way! Also, weather here in Minnesota has been warm (70) but is cooling off this week (back to the 40s!)

  3. A nice balmy 74 here in Tennessee today. After all the cold weather the last few weeks, 74 is making me sweat! Sorry able the loss of your views. Hopefully it’ll clear up soon.

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