Waynesboro, VA - Luray, VA
Mileage: 863.0 - 952.4
Waking up early on Day 11 to a very short walk into the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) where whitewater rafting is their specialty. Sitting a little over 30 miles from the beginning of the Great Smoky Mountain NP, it is a common place for hikers to take a zero and enjoy the river on a nice day. Though today wasn't one of those days. After they provided a hearty breakfasts for Squirrel, Honeybunns and myself and satisfied with my short stay, I looked to push on to Stecoah Gap (15 miles away) where I had reserved a bed at a small hostel run by Lonnie. I knew rain was on the way, and the gloomy overcast sky was a clear sign of the impending doom. If the weather was really bad, I could zero at the hostel as well. A clear win in my book.
About half way to Stecoah, as I crested Cheoah Bald, then the wind picked up and a light drizzle began. Just enough to get things wet. Begin Rain - Day 1.
The hostel experience was perfect as Lonnie and Shadow were great hosts and provided good conversation. I did end up taking the zero day due to solid rain and wind all day long. Nearby forcasts predicted 50mph winds and in this area, that meant any tree was a widow maker. Day 2 Rain.
Day 13 was foggy, on and off shower with some slightly difficult terrain (Day 3 Rain). Knowing Fontana Da