To the NOC

Waking up in the cold was a bit hard for me,it was perfect sleeping weather. That kind of old where you are so warm and toasty inside your bag but you’re breathing that crisp cold air. It’s almost like you want to hibernate. It was that kind of morning for us. Kevin had already gotten up and started to get things together for the day, I chose to lay in bed. After a good while we had breakfast packed and headed out on our last bit to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, just an easy 17 miles.
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The terrain for the day was easy at first. Just some short ups and downs in between Wayah and Wesser Bald. During this easier section of the trail before getting to Wesser Bald, my IT cramped, seizing immediately. The pain in my legal severe, it felt as if I had torn a tendon or a ligament, I couldn’t bear any weight nor bend my leg without pain.  Rolling over Kevin helped me prop it up on my bag as massaged my thigh and called home. I called my friend Ashley and told her what was happening. After out brief conversation and my massaging, I followed her instructions and stretched and took a large dose of pain medication.  It was then I knew it wasn’t serious, nearly all the pain was gone for my knee and leg. Thank god it wasn’t serious.

Hiking down into the gap, some where towards the bottom, Kevin and I got into an argument. I don’t really remember what it was about but it lasted for about 5 miles or so till we reached the top of Wesser Bald.  Wesser Bald had another fire tower with just an awesome view at the top.  There was enough open space to camp, truly a place you’d want to spend the night and watch the night sky.  The sad thing was that we were headed to the NOC and not staying there. Once again there was a place you’d want to stay for the night and yet we needed to move on.

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Moving on we started our descent of 3000 feet or more to the NOC, at first it was nice and easy the trail switched back and forth a long the mountain side. Then the trail hit the edge 9f the mountain and it just went straight off the side.  If you picture a pyramid, just the corner from the top to the bottom, that’s what we climbed down.  2000 feet of the corner of the mountain l some had to be taken so slow we used our hands and feet, some had to be scooted down on our butt, some had to be climbed down like a ladder. None of this wasn’t treacherous as the light faded from our view at 6 in the evening. Crawling our way down we carefully maneuvered our way down the mountain edge. Over rocks, roots and streams we picked our steps carefully to the bottom.
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Coming to the very bottom we were blessed with switchbacks again.  I have never been so happy for switchbacks in my life. The hour was late nearly 8 at night and just a mile to go.  That long dreaded mile, finding the last shelter full we pressed on for the final mile to the NOC for real food and refuge.  It was almost so dark we needed our headlamps, finding our way down the last bit of terrain. Then we saw the lights and heard the familiar noise of people, perking up our spirits we literally rant he last hundred yards to civilization. 17 miles of tough terrain and I was craving some real food.  Both Kevin and I ate fresh hotdogs and chips as we soon became surrounded by our friends who were already there, welcoming us and showing us where to camp for the night.

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