Sassafras Shelter to Yellow Creek Gap
Miles Hiked: 14.5
AT Milage: 158.4
This morning I slept in because I didn’t want to wake up the whole shelter and wanted to head out closer to the group. I was still the first person of the group to leave camp. The climb up to Cheoah Bald, over 5,000 feet, was very steep but the view was rewarding. At the top I ran into Rockslide who I met at camp last night. He ended up hiking with me all day long and I learned so much about him. He used to be a general manager for Broadway shows in NYC. Now he is out here on his third attempt of a thru hike of the trail. He started his hike on the 22nd and is already caught up to everyone who started on the 15th. He hikes very fast, and has been doing some 20 mile days. We hiked 7 miles extremely quickly today. We sat down to have lunch at Stecoah Gap where we ran into Locks and Cocoa who were behind us.
Rockslide convinced me to camp at a hostel tonight. It was such a good deal I could not pass it up. For $20 I got picked up from the trail, a camping spot in the yard, a shower, laundry, access to a hot tub, and a resupply run to Ingles in Robbinsville NC about 30 minutes from the trail. I needed to resupply before the Smokies and everyone knows Fontana Dam resupply is expensive. This was my best opportunity. We got to Yellow Creek Gap where we were to be picked up at 3pm and then a guy named Soup (Clark) who we met earlier walked by and we convinced him to stay with us as well.
The hostel was super nice. It is ran by Jeff and his wife Cynthia out of their beautiful mountainside home that has a refreshing creek running across their front yard. They were extremely nice to all of us and we enjoyed getting to know them. After our resupply, we all ate our dinners we bought at the grocery store. Then I set up my tent and took a shower. They have these big white fluffy bathrobes you get to wear after you shower until your laundry is done, an upgrade from rain outfits. An unfortunate thing that happened was that the puppy at the hostel got ahold of my shoes and ate part of my socks. I’m just thankful my shoes are still fine because I would not have been able to hike for a few days had my shoes been destroyed. Another hiker staying at the hostel named Giggles put her socks in the hiker box which was exactly what I needed. It’s funny how I’ve always been provided with exactly what I need on trail so far.