Ellie (aka Mayfly)
Begins: Mar 27, 2005
Date: Tue, Apr 12th, 2005
Start: Wesser Bald Shelter
Daily Distance: 6
Trip Distance: 17.5
Entry Visits: 1,448
Journal Visits: 8,555
NOCI arrived at the NOC around lunch time today. It started raining around 10:30 and is supposed to quit tomorrow around the same time. I wasn't going to stay,
There are A LOT of hikers staying here. It appears many of them have taken a "Zero", and a lot are slack packing tomorrow. For those interested, slack
packing is day hiking without your pack. Someone drops you off and picks you up, and you only carry what you need for the day, ie., water and snacks.....no
pack. It is quite popular out here. Due to the new hostel in Dahlonega, GA there are some hikers that slacked the entire state of GA...hike during the day
and shower, food and bed at night. At this point I don't plan on slacking, but to each their own. Hike as you want and just enjoy yourself.
It's interesting having so many hikers in one place. It is not quite what I imagined when I began this journey. I had known I would see fellow travelers, but not these large tight knit groups. Some days I'll hike whole days without seeing anyone, and then camp alone, and then other times I will have to go miles to find a flat spot without a tent. Many of the hikers have congealed into groups b/c they travel at similar paces, and bonds develop over time, seeing the same people each night if you stay in shelters. I've not really had this happen b/c I don't stay at shelters that often, and probably because I keep to myself a little more than others. The anticipated experience for me was always about the environment and wildlife around me. I had not even considered the social aspect of the trail, but this hike definitely offers a big social experience if that is what one is looking for on the trail. It really makes sense with the cold, rain and cruddie weather we have been having. The old saying "misery loves company" definitely applies out here at times.
Let's see if I can name a few staying here at the NOC right now. Some of the trail names are pretty funny, and most all have a little history behind them. Spicey Thai (pronounced thigh)...nice guy, Cold Feet, Mud Butt and Mimi, Wookie, Ugh, Doctor Albert, Oma, Opa, Big Sweetie, Slick, Scarecrow, Swingin Jane, Sunflower, Tortuga, Fifty Short, Hot Crotch, etc. There are others, but I don't know their names. My three favorite stories apply to "Spicy Thai," "Fifty Short," and "Hot Crotch" (all word of mouth). Supposedly "Spice Thai" was making a Thai dehydrated meal one night with a group at a shelter. Someone asked him what he was making, and he held up the meal packaging and announced "Something called Spicy Thigh." This of course brought a huge guffaw from the group, and unfortunately for him his name was born. "Fifty Short," a really nice kid, supposedly started the trail with a children's fifty degree sleeping bag that came up to his waste. Every night he would pile everything he owned on top of himself just to try and stay warm. "Hot Crotch" was born in my presence. I awoke next to Matt one morning, and as we both sat in our sleeping bags, I asked him how his new bag was working out. He said the toes were a little too cold and the crotch area was too warm. Someone screamed out "HOT CROTCH" and the rest is history. For quite some time he would blush when introduced as "Hot Crotch," but eventually he became quite proud of his name and would simply grin. I was sorry to see Matt leave the trail. He really was a lot of fun.
There is no TV and only one phone, but there is of course a common room where I'm staying and periodically throughout the day you will find hikers hanging out telling stories and chatting. A lot of these people are true characters, and some of their trail stories are absolutely hysterical.
I better go do some laundry since I'm headed out so early in the morning. The next couple of days look like some tough climbing, but I'd like to make
Fontana Dam by Friday.
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