Saturday, May 20, 2017
Start: Sassafras Gap Shelter
End: Tellico Gap
It rained a bit during the night so I packed up a wet tent in the morning. I didn’t sleep very well and woke up in a grumpy mood. At least the bugs weren’t as evil in the morning. I was up at 6am and on trail by 7am. It quickly got hot and humid.
From the shelter (4391′), I climbed to Swim Bald (4710′) and then descended to US 19/74 and Nantahala Outdoor Center (1732′). I ended up going to the outfitter and the general store there and hanging out for a while (fine, it was over an hour!). Turns out, they have a special IT band strap, which is magic. It cut my pain by at least 60%. It allowed me to walk normally again. I had the full use of both my legs again; my body and soul rejoiced. They also loved the three cold drinks, egg sandwich, and assorted other snacks we ate.
From the NOC, I bounded up the never ending mountain. I went past the Jumpoff (3940′) and then summited Wesser Bald (4627′), climbing to the top of the observational tower. I hung out there for maybe half an hour, calling hostels to figure out a way to get me more contact lense eye drops, as I’d run out this morning. After figuring it out, I descended to Tellico Gap (3850′), arriving by 3:45, where my shuttle picked me up and took me to Franklin.
I deeply enjoyed showering, getting groceries, eating in town, and running my laundry. Tomorrow, I have a 7am shuttle back to Tellico Gap, where I’ll hike back towards Franklin. If I must hike in the rain, slack packing is the way to do it.