Thursday–April 15, 2021
Location–Camped by trail just past Locust Cove Gap, AT Mile 148.0
Wesser is pretty much as I remember it from over two decades ago, NOC, the General Store, Riverside Restaurant, the bridge, and of course, the fast-rushing Nantahala River–all still pretty much the same.
Nathan and I stayed the night in the NOC Dogwood Motel. Fine accommodations, a pleasant night’s rest.
We’re up and ready to go early, but the NOC General Store doesn’t open until nine, so we’ve time to kill. One of the other motel guests has prepared coffee in the lounge–Yippee! That helps.
Nathan will be hiking the next three days with me to Fontana, where Barry Dodson and Durwin Jones (dear hiking friends from Alabama) will be joining me, supporting me through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSM). They’ll be coming through Wesser to pick up Nathan’s van–and they’ll need to get the keys. So, we’ve got to wait until the NOC General Store opens this morning so Nathan can leave his keys.
A bit after nine, we’ve shouldered our heavy packs (three day’s food), crossed the Nantahala pedestrian bridge, and the railroad tracks–to begin our eight-mile uninterrupted climb to Cheoah Bald, another of the many 5,000-foot mountains to come.
Passing the Wade Sutton memorial we’re into a rugged up section of trail called the “Jump Up.” And it’s certainly appropriately named, for the trail literally jumps up!
More delightful green tunnels today, plus incomparable views from the summit of Cheoah Bald, and of course more rocks and roots.
Coming off Cheoah Bald we stop to water up at Locust Cove Gap before moving on up the next ridge, where we find two flat enough spots to pitch our tents. Nathan prepares a wonderful hot supper for both of us. Snickers for dessert!
Just a blue-perfect hiking day–with a great friend…
Let us be grateful to the people
who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.