Since we left Franklin, with our bodies and food bags stuffed to the max, we’ve had relatively easy hiking and mild weather. Last night was the exception, it rained for roughly 14 hours and our tent and gear got wet. Wet isn’t too bad when it’s not too cold out, and we’ve been lucky considering the fact we haven’t had snow on some of the many cold nights up to this point, but the coldest one is coming up tonight. Temperatures are expected around 20 degrees Fahrenheit which is well below freezing and somewhere around the god-damn-it’s-cold range in Celsius. I found out about the sub zero weather prediction last night and came up with an action plan. Like many well equipped and experienced hikers do in these situations, I assessed my gear, my mood, and financial status and immediately took out my cell phone and called the nearest lodging place and booked a room.
The tramily is now sitting warm and cozy at the Nantahala outdoor center in our 6 man bunk. We had to push through a few extra miles to get here and the team is wiped out. We’ve had burgers, pizza, dessert and beer. We’re now planning our next few days. Fontana is 35 miles away and will be our next stop. Squeak and I need to average 12.7 miles between now and mid September to finish the trail, so Fontana should be in our sights within 3 days. I intend on posting my next update in town if we survive the next few cold days, we are expecting snow over the next few days so the next update may contain more specific survival strategies that don’t include paying for lodging.