Day 12 – NOC to Locust Cove Gap

Back to the good weather today, a welcome change from yesterday’s cold and rain. I was hoping for a hot breakfast at the restaurant, but those hopes were dashed since it’s only open for lunch and dinner through the week. Score another one for the NOC 😡.

The NOC did have one thing going for it – lots of skoolies!

Since I still needed to resupply and the general store didn’t open until 9 (more NOC points 😝) I took my time in my room catching up on some financial stuff and taking stock of my food situation to make sure I bought enough but not too much. I wandered down a little before 8:45 and quickly picked up some freeze dried meals from the outfitter and then some bars and a package of waxy chocolate donuts and a coffee for breakfast 🤦.

I was starting up the 8.5 mile climb by 9:30. Even though it was chilly to start, I made the call to only wear my base layer – shorts and a long sleeve sun hoodie. I knew I made the right call about a mile in. Someone at a trail magic back in Georgia had said “the heat is in the hill” and that was definitely the case this morning.

A bit up the hill I caught up with some section hikers I’d met the day before when we were both getting our passes for the smokies. I chatted with them a bit then went on ahead. A bit later, I met an older couple from NC who are through hiking together. About half way up I stopped to get some more water and ran into another pair of section hikers I’d seen at the NOC. About 2 miles from the summit I ran into Bard and his friend Jake (to be fair they ran in to me…younger legs and all 😝). The group of us all played leap frog up to the summit of Cheoah Bald.

The view from Cheoah
My view napping from Cheoah
A view of me napping from Cheoah

Which was totally worth all the work to get there. It was by far the best views of the hike so far. A few of the section hikers decided to camp there for the night. I was way ahead of schedule so I decided to take about an hour long break. I took my shoes and socks off and just sat in the grass, having a snack and taking it all in.

I still had 2.5 miles to do to get to camp so I packed up and left a little before 3:30. I rolled into camp a bit before 5 and it was packed. Every available flat spot already had a tent on it. Hammock FTW once again!

There were at least 10 tents at Locust Cove tonight. But only one hammock!

I met Caleb and Chuck and then Mac and Ma (m&m for short – the older retired couple is met earlier) rolled in a bit later. We all traded news and stories while we setup and made dinner. I’m getting so I like sleeping in the woods more than in hostels. If only we could figure out showers and laundry.






4 responses to “Day 12 – NOC to Locust Cove Gap”

  1. Eric Avatar

    Great view! It’s funny you said you are starting to like sleeping outside more than sleeping in the hostels. I was thinking that might be preferable after yesterday’s post. Can you shower and laundry at the hostel but camp outside?

    1. Chris Avatar

      That is an option at some of them yes. Others you can just stop to do laundry and shower and then hike on and camp on the trail. Might try that at the next one.

  2. Joshua Mitchell Avatar
    Joshua Mitchell

    Waiting for your trail name…..

    1. Chris Avatar

      Me too. Closest I got was NAC = not army chris. Not happy with a name that’s a negation 😉

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