It was another great day for hiking – a little cool in the morning but warmed up nicely by late morning. I left Carter’s Gap at 8:00 and hiked without seeing anyone else until about 10:30 when after a long climb up Albert Mountain I found Staff and Oxy relaxing in the sun and enjoying the great panorama. Albert Mountain marks the 100-mile point on the trail so we took photos to celebrate (see below).
The hiking was easy after Albert Mountain so I was able to cover 20 miles by 4:00 p.m. I got a little trail magic today – someone had left a bunch of bananas by the side if the trail so took three and ate them as I hiked.
I’ve enjoyed the long hiking days but I’ve gotten a little ahead of my schedule and need to slow down a bit. I want to be at Fontana Dam on Sunday because I’ve got a reservation at The Hike Inn for Sunday night. I’ve also got a resupply package there waiting for me that I sent a couple of weeks ago. The Smokies will be a challenging five day hike without resupply so I want to be well rested and we supplied when I start on Monday, April 8th.
So my plan for the next two days is to split the 23 miles to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) into two relatively easy days. There is a new hostel called The Acquone Hostel in between Siler Bald and NOC that is run by a British couple. The man is a 2010 AT thru-hiker who decided to open a hiker hostel. I “liked” them in Facebook several months ago and they’ve gotten rave reviews. So I’ll stay there tomorrow night. For $20 you get a bunk in the hostel, breakfast and dinner. Not a bad deal!