Day 19: The NOC! Huge!

So. I appear ro be on the zero-to-zero plan. That crazy cold snap that’s terrorizing the east dumped about six inches of snow on the mountains. I was originally planning to hike through the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), since I just stayed at the Aquone, but now I’m looking at a safety issue. The next three nights are going to be in the upper teens. More snow is coming tonight. And after this it’s two days to the freaking Smokies, which I’ve been dreading for six months. I need to get there with dry gear. So here I am, snowed in at the NOC for two nights. I’m in the bunkhouse. Ironically, after last night’s bout of loneliness, tonight I’m hoping to have the bunkroom to myself. So far so good!

Oh! Before I forget! Socks’s husband Dreamer is recording the hike for his Michigan paper. At least, I think it’s for the paper. Socks is writing articles along the way. But anyway, Dreamer recorded videos at the Aquone. If you want to see me frolicking, you can google his blog. It’s TNT on the Trail, I believe.

Ramblin Rex is here. So is the Postman. The Aquone folks were here a bit ago, but they’ve passed me now. As usual. šŸ™‚ Also, I spotted Quaker when I went for my shower.

Anyway, the walking was tough today. Oh! The Aquonites are slackpacking, so in an act of supreme kindness, they took my package to mail it for me so I wouldn’t have to carry it over the mountain! My pack is lighter, but today’s miles were hard won.

I fell. A lot. The ground was icy and treacherous under the snow. My feet kept slipping out from under me. Twice, though, I fell hard. Once I landed on my butt on the snowy rocks and slid six or eight feet as though I were on a sliding board. That one was funny. The second one, not so much. My pole came down on a wet root and I fell right over the edge of the trail. I tumbled in leaves and snow for about ten feet until the trees and underbrush caught me. My poles and my legs tangled together. I’m so thankful I didn’t break a pole!

That’s when I decided to stay here the extra night. Nineteen bucks well spent. I seem to be fine—maybe a little sore around the ankles—but that spill really shook me up. All it takes is one unlucky step to end a hike.

And that’s it! I ate a Snickers and a Milky Way for dinner. I may be the first thru-hiker ever to come home fatter than when she left.

But… the NOC! What a huge milestone! More on that tomorrow.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Day 19: The NOC! Huge!

  1. Sharon

    You’re doing great, in spite of Mother Nature’s wrath! Be safe. Be warm. It’s a spiritual journey, too. But I’ll send you warm hugs to love you!

    • I’ll take all the hugs I can get! Thank you!

      The NOC is warm and snug. Kind of like a dive hotel where the neighbors are having a loud party. šŸ˜‰

  2. You truly are an inspiration. Your tenancy and strength are amazing! Can you tell me where you will be in a couple of weeks that I can send a mail drop to. I would like to send anything you need or want. As hard as you are working and the pace you are setting in the midst of this record low temperatures and remarkable weather is something to feel pretty good about and not take for granted. Some may have passed you, but many have left the trail already. It is your hike and a remarkable one at that. Thank you for sharing your experience and hard earned wisdom.

    • That’s so true, Red! A TON of people have quit. Thanks for that reminder!

      I’m not doing any mail drops, so the scheduling is dificult. I’ll probably e taking a zero in Hot Springs, but I’m not sure when I’ll get there or where I’ll be staying. What I might do is try to post some details here when I’m about a week out. If I can. Not surehow that’ll pan out with the Smokies. I hear there’s no phone reception in there, so I mightnot be able to plan ahead.

      I’ll let you know what I can, when I can, though! And even the thought is appreciated more than I can say!

  3. That was some crazy sounding stuff today! Be safe and warm and dry so you’ll be ready to conquer the Smokies. Your dinner is making me crave Snickers and Milky Ways! šŸ™‚

    Also, I echo Red T FromFest–if you need anything sent to a mail drop, just let me know!

    • Robert! You’re so nice! I might post some deets about a Hot Springs zero, if I can. If I can phone ahead from the Smokies.

      Oh, hell. I have no clue. =D

  4. Ditto to Red T. Also would love to send you stuff if you can give us an address. You name it. Stay safe above all.

  5. Irish

    Sending you some Irish luck from the Bethel Backing Group……KEEP ON TREKKING,,,,,,loving the stories, please stay safe. Hugs Eileen

  6. when i rolled into NOC (similar timing as you years ago) it was about 85 degrees! – i remember sitting by the river and getting sunburned. crazy how different each year can be! i remember leaving NOC and following the train tracks errantly until another hiker hollered me back onto the trail. that hike out is a little bit of a bear but there is a lovely spot on top where we took a break from what i remember. don’t dread the smokies, embrace them – they are lovely and you will be fine, even in the snow and cold. keep your dry gear dry and your fuel bottle full and you can do anything. šŸ™‚

    • Hey, there are hikers here today who’ve been trapped for three days y the weather! They’re leaving, even though it’s snowing. They just can’t take it anymore. LOL!

  7. yeah the immobility gets to you after a while. we were tempted to spend an extra day just because it was so !@#$% hot! laying in the river sounded a hell of a lot better than humping our packs up a mountain. šŸ™‚ i remember having a guinness and a pint of ben and jerrys there. nope, not much of a hurry to leave heaven.

    • LOL. I was just eyeballing their ice cream freezer. I think I’ll hold that in reserve as a reward down the trail. Easy to do when it’s snowing. =D

  8. “I’m so grateful I didn’t break a pole!” Holy crow, Linda I am so grateful you didn’t break a leg. I am reading everything and will try to comment more. Sending you warmth and love!

    • {{{Nef!}}}

      Right!? I had the same thought, believe me! But the trail is so freaky magical that I didn’t want to put it out there myself. =D

  9. Marge

    I am ordering an AT paper map to follow you as best I can, as well as the one I already downloaded on my ipad. I am glad you are ok, after your tumbles. Scarrry. Geez, your were lucky, as much as it probably didn’t feel that way. Keep up the great journaling. My 80 yr old client is an avid reader and loves your writings.

    • One step at a time! =D

      It’s funny, I can’t even look at the maps anymore. Just the one page for that day. In fact, I ripped my guidebook in half and sent the northern states home to my brother in my great pack purge. Saved 4 ounces!

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