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. 🙂 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.