Before leaving Franklin, Ron Haven, the local politician, invited us and some other hikers to a rotary club meeting where he was going to give a presentation. We all got a free lunch so that was enough to entice us all. When we got there Ron tried to talk the who's who of Franklin into understanding what the Appalachian Trail is. It seemed like some of them did not even know what the Appalachian Trail is even though it runs right though their backyard. A big portion of the towns economy is based on thru hiker traffic and that is what Ron was trying to tell the crowd. But either way the food was great and the sweet tea was even better.
Before we left we also managed to get a free breakfast from a church group downtown. It was amazing once again! Upon leaving town we got a shuttle from Ron and it was beautiful day. We felt great for the first couple miles. Then the lack of sleep from the night before caught up with us. What was probably an easy climb started to feel like Everest. We slept extra good that night after spending an hour trying to get our bear bag up in a tree. In the process I got it stuck and had a caribiner shoot out of the tree and smack my hand at high speed. The next day after half a day of hiking my big toe started to hurt really bad so we took a lot of breaks. We got caught in a downpour and had to set up camp in the mess of rain. It's a good thing we both keep extra clothes in a separate dry bag because most everything we have, including the inside of the tent, was drenched. We also had a condensation problem where every time a big drop of rain hit the outside of the tent it would shake the condensation off the inside so there was a decent mist coming down on us most of the night. To combat this we covered up with our rain jackets and extra trash bags. The sham-wow we brought also worked well for wiping the moisture off the inside. Needless to say, it was one of the rougher nights we have had thus far.
The next day we arrived at the Nantahala Outdoor Center and decided to stay the night at their bunkhouse due to my toe and wet gear. This place is pretty sweet! They have whitewater rapids flowing right through the campus so you can sit back and watch kayakers hit the rapids all day. If we had more time, I would have liked to try it but I'll have to wait till next time. We did have a wonderful dinner on the river and watched some paddler film festival they had going on. We managed to get some free pizza and cheap beer because of a big ACA cycling event that they had next door so after a couple beers and movies we called it a night. This morning I wrapped the hell out of my toe and we ate breakfast at the same restaurant. Hopefully we can make it to the shelter tonight before it fills up. There is supposed to be a storm moving into the area tonight so it should be fun...
P.S. - We had our first hitch-hiking experience! When we got to the NOC, we got word that there was a good, cheap burger place a half mile away. We started walking there and Rob figured that he would give it a try. The moment he stuck his thumb up, a mini van pulled over for us. When we opened the door, we started to second guess whether it was such a good idea. The man that was giving us a ride also had a bunch of cats in the car. We both thought that we would either get fleas or get murdered. Or both. Luckily, he pulled over a second later when we got to the burger place... Which was closed. At least we're still alive and don't think we have fleas. We picked up some snacks from a nearby convenience store and started walking back. Then somebody pulled over for us again! This time it was just some kayaker who was heading to the NOC as well. We hopped into the back of his truck and enjoyed the ride through the hills of North Carolina.
Hello. We are Robert and Candice Fox. We created this blog for people who want to follow us as we thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. If you don't know what the Appalachian Trail is, we will let our favorite online resources tell you most anything you need to know. Just click on the blue stuff.