Day 13 Nantahala Outdoor Center
Mileage: 4.0 (133.9 Total)
Woke up this morning to rain. Yuk! Everyone in camp was a bit baked from last night. I didn't expect anyone to be up at 7 AM (woke up 30 minutes late, oh well). I got on my way around 0840 with the sprint into the NOC. To a non-hiker, saying "its all downhill from here" may seem like a welcome thought, but after four miles of steep descent to the Nantahala River, you start wishing there were some "ups" to go with the "downs". Anyway, after the 3500 ft down, which took about 3 hours, I came withing sight of the outdoor center. After crossing a few of the "wonka bridges" (see pictures), I arrived on beautiful pavement and a normal human scene: Cars driving by, people (not grubby hikers) renting kayaks for the day, families eating lunch in the restaraunt. It was a rather welcome sight after a trek through the wood. So I headed in, got a private (non-snoring) bunkroom w/ another, non-snoring hiker ($1.00 for a rental towel, I think I can swing that) It was the 2 out of 3 "S's" (that being s***, shower, but no shave....I mean, what's the point :-) ) some laundry...make a man whole again. Apparently, they put the hikers in "riff-raff" section in the back of the campus. We don't generally contribute too much to their operating income but they take pity on us since the trail goes right through their business. They like us though :-) Tack on all those luxuries with a 2000 calorie lunch at the restaraunt, and you have a new man! So a bit about the Nantahala Outdoor Center: They service kayakers and whitewater enthusiasts who are out for a day or multi-day trip. There's a "hotel", bar, restaraunt, outfitter, parking lot, ect. The bunkouse and shower facility for AT thru-hikers are in the back (as mentioned earlier). Dinner was quite pleasant with about seven Dark Hefeweisens (consume like its going out of style, baby). Bojangles (entrepreneur extrodinaire) bought two bottles of champagne for the group of us, because, screw it, we're doing something people only sit home and dream of. Bo and I get along quite well and we're hiking together more and more.
Anywho, this "nero" day replenished my body quite well. I'm pleasantly drunk and ready for the 3500 ft ascent tomorrow morning.