May 29th 2018
No Business Knob Shelter – Uncle Johnny’s hostel (mile 343.8)
6.3 miles
Total miles: 353.8


It was a decent nights sleep, only woken a few times by the strong winds. With only 6 miles to do before getting to ‘town’ I really had to force myself to get up and get moving. Unfortunately I just couldn’t wait for 6 miles before having a poo so I had my second nature poo of the trail. There are so many privys around but I have heard they become a bit thin on the ground for the next few miles. 

A little toad came bouncing around and I had a bit of a freak out. They, like frogs, are so unpredictable with their movements. The way they bounce around is weird. As long as they aren’t touching me I am fine, but you never know if they are going to bounce your way. Moon came to my rescue and picked it up and launched it into the forest. It did bounce it’s way back though. 

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I got going around 7:30am and it was mostly an easy downhill all the way to the Nolichucky River with a couple of small ups on the way. I was cruising, fuelled by the thought of food and soda. I did slip on a couple of tree roots. I went right down at one point and I thought something horrible had happened to my knee but everything seemed to be ok. It rained. Of course it rained. We are in the middle of a tropical storm. But it was light rain and only lasted for about an hour. 

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My brain sent a message to my bowels to tell them we were nearing a town, but it told them a bit too soon because the kids were desperate to get out while we were still a good 1.5 miles from the pool. It made walking difficult as you have to walk along trying to clench your bum cheeks together. I made it to the hostel, which is right on the AT at about 9:45am. In-a-Rush was there, every time I expect never to see him again he shows up!

I sat for a while and Travis was already there, the couple hiking with the dog and the cat were there too. A couple who I’d never met before were there in the middle of an argument, unknown to me. He wanted to hike the whole thing, she wanted to skip ahead to get away from the weather. She won. 

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Look closely. She has a cat around her neck in a sling! They hike with the cat!!

I secured a spot in the hostel and then sat around for a couple of hours waiting for the shuttle into town. Squirvert and Moon came in and I met some other hikers who have been here hiding out from the rain. I managed to get some videos uploaded onto YouTube. This WiFi is not spectacular, but it’s the best WiFi there has been for a long time. It was raining and everything felt wet just sitting outside. Humidity is 97%. 

I was getting very very hungry by the time the shuttle to town came around and a few of us went to Dariace – a stereotypical American diner, established in the 60s and has remained exactly the same ever since. I went for a bacon cheeseburger, honey siracha fries (so good) and a side of slaw, plus an Oreo milkshake. It tasted so so good. I even managed to nearly eat the whole thing. I think I maybe left 3 or 4 fries. 

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You sit around in a semi circle so you all talk to each other and you get to talk to the locals. “You missed the wedding!” I wonder when people are going to stop telling me that! The waitress came over and said they had made an order that had been cancelled and did we want it? Two cheeseburgers and fries. Err, yes please! So we took that back to the hostel with us. The place was heavily air conditioned and when I walked in I felt really cold but I soon adjusted. Walking out again the humidity slapped me in the face. The air was thick. 

On the way back we called into the grocery store and got some resupply. I bought some cheese, big bag of crisps, some candy, two packets of ramen and 4 Twix bars to get me through the next two days. I supplemented that back at the hostel (where they have a really good little outfitter store) with two cliff bars and a mountain house meal. 

Back at the hostel I chucked in my laundry with Moons and took a much needed shower. There were mixed reviews about this hostel but the bathrooms were clean and the water pressure was good. It was so nice to wash away all the grime and mud and sweat and stinky grossness. I lounged around in my towel while my laundry finished and did some more blog / vlog updating. Clean clothes. They felt and smelt so good. They won’t stay this way for long but for now it’s heavenly. 

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The ‘hiker box’

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It had been raining pretty much continuously since we got here so it was a good day to take some time off. Another shuttle went back to town at 5pm but I decided to stay and eat one of those free burgers which was surprisingly good. I had to make do with a Gatorade to go with it because there was no soda. I was sat chatting with a load of people and they all left en-mass to go to town so I was left on my own. I was sat peacefully when guess who I see walking down the road. Buzzy and Pebbles. I try to make sense of what they’ve been doing but it’s impossible. 

I chat to them for a while and Moon comes and joins us. They decide to weigh their packs. Pebbles weighs close to 40lb. 25lb of that is food (about 11kg). I have never seen someone carry so much food. He eats 8000 calories a day and he is as skinny as a pin. He is 18 so maybe he’s still growing. Buzzy is carrying nearly 35lb and they are still doing really big miles (when they want to). They provide some entertainment for a few hours. 

Buzzy is an acquired taste but he scored two big bonus points with me tonight. One – he guessed my age at 28. Two – he told me I had lost weight. A couple of small things that make me happy! 

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Buzzy also told me that he saw the old lady in the Shelter today, she was still hiding out from the rain. Her name is Pathfinder and she is 76. Apparently she has run out of food, she wouldn’t accept any so Buzzy put a packet of Oreos in her bag and left her his phone number. She needs to get out of the shelter and out of the rain and have a good think about what she is doing.

The owners did a big burger feast yesterday for all the hikers because it was Memorial Day. They didn’t do the same thing today but they did give us their leftover dinner. It was ribs which I’m not really keen on so I gave my ribs away to Pebbles who was delighted, and I ate the bread and the corn on the cob which was delicious. That is probably my first bit of trail magic that’s come my way. On trail at least. I’ve had plenty of magic from people outside of the trail. 

Buzzy and Pebbles went off to find a place to stay and some other people rolled in looking rather soggy and frazzled. One guy hiked the PCT in 2012 and we got talking and he knows my 2015 friend Suds. Small little hiker world. 

I’m up too late writing this. I also feel hungry and thirsty. I didn’t do a good job of rehydrating today. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 21

 

 


 

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