May 5: Our first 19 mile day!

Published: May 11th 2008
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Wine Spring/Bartram Trail to Wesser Bald Shelter. Then on to Nantahala Outdoor

My math was a bit off last night. We did 13.4 miles today not 14. It got cold last night as our tent sat @ 5,290', temp went down into the high 30s. I got up once in the night to answer nature’s call, the night was crystal clear and moonless, no breeze, and quite damp near the spring. We were up by 6:30AM and working on getting out of the tent. Oatmeal again for breakfast and coffee for me with hot apple cider for CC.
All was packed and we struck out up the trail by 8:15AM. The trail started up for only a short way then about a mile of gentle down slope. The first up was for "Wayah Bald" which is the site of an old stone fire tower. The sky was only slightly hazy so the view was fantastic, 30+ miles in any direction. We could see south to Albert Mtn that we climbed a day and a half ago. I hope the pictures do the distance justice. It is so hard to grasp how far through these mountains 12 or 14 miles can be. We saw a couple of SOBO section hikers early in
the day then no one else.
Lunch was taken in the Cold Spring Shelter which is aptly named. If the spring was much colder it would have ice cubes dropping out. Temp climbed into the mid 70s and that took its toll on CC's ability to climb the mountains. Our last climb was "Wesser Bald" it to had an old fire tower, but we wanted to get to the shelter so we walked past without climbing the stairs. The spring for this shelter is 1/10mile south of the shelter so we had to "Camel Up" as we passed. The shelter soon came into view and we ended the days walking at 4:15PM. We had talked of just stopping for a rest break and supper, then continue down
to our next supply stop. It is 5.6 miles to the hostel from here. It is all down hill, but we opted to stay up here as I mixed up our re-supply boxes and this one won't arrive until early Wed. No need to charge into town to spend money and the downs make CC's knees hurt the most. 13.4 miles is enough for us today.
Aaron, one of the young men who we met at Cloud 9 came walking down to the shelter as we finished supper. His heals were blistered bad and he replaced his shoes while at Cloud 9. We knew he was behind us somewhere, but not just sure where. He had tried the new shoes for a day or so then said the heck with it and pulled on his sandals. Now no pain and he is doing 20 mile days. We talked for almost an hour and he headed into town. All is quiet here now, just CC and I with the
shelter to ourselves, tomorrow town and a hot shower.

A late addition to today's blog. One nice thing about no phones out here. I have time to make last minute changes that might have happened so you get the most information we can send. Well on with the story.....
Not long after I had ended my entry for the day, a southbound hiker
stumbled into the shelter looking quite disheveled. His clothing was soaked from sweat or other body fluids. His skin was gritty and dirty and his eyes were not only bloodshot, but circled with red skin. His speech was not connective, as in broken sentences and thought structure. His story seemed off and in no uncertain terms made us both very uneasy. We asked if he had seen any primitive camp sites on his way up from the road. He gave a somewhat positive answer which was all I needed. CC and I were so in-tune with each other in our thoughts of this guy, without speaking a word or even a look. With our backs to
each other and not knowing what the other was doing, we had both started to stuff what gear we had out back in the pack. We said a few quick good-bys and left the shelter in a cloud of dust.
After being married to CC for 33 years I know if she is not comfortable with someone it is time for one of the two to leave. It would have been a restless night for her worrying over if this was some drug crazed mass murder or such. The more distance we put between us the better she would sleep.
We headed down the mountain at CC's "let's get the heck out of town" pace. Her body no longer felt pain, only the need to get away from that guy. It was 5.7 miles to the hostel with a 2,173' drop. I can't say I saw a lot of the trail down, but I can say we did slow down enough to get a picture or two of new flowers. Time was of the essence, it was 6:30PM and it would be dark by 8:45PM giving us two and a quarter hours to cover the five plus miles. This would be simpler if there were no near vertical drops along the way. There was one spot
where the trail opened up to the valley below with the sun setting low to our left. The way the green ocean rolled out before us made us gasp at the beauty, hope the pictures to it justice. We made it down to the lower less dangerous terrain before we had to dawn headlamps. The last mile was done in the dark by headlamp through the trees into NOC. This place looked like some sort of circus through the trees as we neared. The place was almost deserted when we crossed the road at 9:15PM.
We had done our first 19 mile day with the last one in the dark. We found one of the staff and he pointed us to a tent area that was free. We bedded down for the night happy for the long day. Tomorrow will be a "Zero" day with no hiking as our box won't be here until Wed.
As a side note: We have talked to no less than nine other hikers from both sexes, ALL had the exact same vibes as us about this hiker. Thank God he is going the other direction.

Patrick, Deborah Mooney aka OD & CC
All Who Wander Are Not Lost


12th May 2008

Am sooooo glad you both are so intune to one another, intune to God, and that "warning feeling" was no more event than it was. Happy Mother's Day, Debbie! From your southern son's mother-in-law :)

Tot: 2.6s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 5; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0366s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb