April 7, 1998

4/7/98 Erwin, TN

13.1 miles (337.7 total)

Last night, after dinner and everything was done, I walked over to the other campers’ fire. Turned out they were pretty nice guys just out for the evening. We just talked about hiking and the AT.

This morning did not look good compared to the last couple of days. Thought real hard about putting on the pack cover because it felt like rain. But after a couple of hours, the sun pushed real hard and broke through. The cold morning was beginning to warm up. The terrain/vegetation is what I noticed today. I seemed to move continuously between three different zones; rhododendron rain forest, leaf forest, and evergreens. It seemed to change frequently, almost every corner I turned. Much to my surprise, I reached the shelter an hour early. 11:30 and it’s only 5.7 miles to the Nolichucky River. So what the hell, let’s push on!

Hell of a long climb, only to come down, but some good views of the river. I’m just steps away from the bridge and I see someone wave from the deck of what I thought was a restaurant. Turns out to be a new hiker hostel that’s only been open three days. Uncle Johnny was thru-hiking last year when he stopped by this house to ask for a lift. The owner later told him he was getting married, he was 89 and she was 30 years younger) and putting the house on the market in a week. Uncle Johnny said his good byes and set off. Four miles later he turned around and put an offer on the house.

Uncle Johnny's "Nolichucky Hostel" for 10$/night

Although he as a lot to do, the start is the best hostel I’ve seen. So right now Ghandi, EWOS, Smiley and I are sitting in the bunkhouse watching John Bulushi in "Continental Divide." I was going to spend an extra day here but everything is too spread out. Bought food for the first time on this trip. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I bought. Even more surprised that it fit in my food bags. Seems like enough for a month. Tomorrow after sending off my bounce box, I plan a short day, with a quick stop by the Nolichucky Gorge Campground.