> Roasted a giant marshmallow last night. Shared shelter with Bearfoot, Bones, Great Legs, Doc and Spider Kisser. Woke up to Moonshiner making breakfast. Up at 7:30, hiking by 8. Mostly downhill six miles. Made it to NOC by 10:30. Had made reservations for seven of us at the hostel, check in wasn’t until three so had lunch at Rivers End. Went to the outfitter bought two paid of new shoes. Oboz and Sanuks. One for hiking, one for hanging out. My Keens were falling apart on the sole and I couldn’t tighten them enough. In Evenbeard’s terms they were "sloshy." I bought the camp shoes cuz they looked cool. They also weigh very little. I snagged a pair of Injinji toe socks from the hiker box. I bought typo much resupply food. Gonna leave here with a real heavy pack. I was concerned about the resupply options in Fontana Dam though. It’s okay really cuz I’ll only be carrying that extra for two days.
> Did laundry behind the general store while enjoying a local brew. Went back to the outfitter bought some power bars, back to the general store, back to the restaurant. I’ve been all over town at least three times! Dumped my pack. Organized. TCOB.
> Half Back and Banter are getting off the trail. The talk is all about whether we can get into the smokies and what is the weather in the smokies and how many people were rescued out of the smokies. Latest word is Pumpkin King and Ice Man made it in and it’s fine. The warmer weekend weather and Saturday rain should help. Two days to Fontana. Roomin tonight in the girls bunk with Thistle, Journey and Beerdra. It’s honestly weird to be around this much estrogen. Planning a 10.3 day tomorrow with a six mile climb over 3000 ft to start. Having a great time mostly talking about weather, aches, pains, food, trail conditions and gear. The most memorable parts are those where I learn about the people out here though. Why they’re hiking, what they value, how they live. Someone told me the other day that the trail is a great equalizer. No matter what it is we do back in our "other lives," we’re all peers out here experiencing the same trials, laughing at the same mishaps and jokes. Supposedly unlikely friends off the trail make fast friends on the trail. I feel so fortunate to be here.