Day 14-15: April 28-29, 2022. NOC to Locust Cove Gap Elevation Profile +3655/-1935 10.7 Miles; Total 147.4 Miles

The most important thing to report is I finally took a Zero. No miles, no work, no trail shoes just flip flops all day long! I woke up to no alarm, no instant coffee & no oatmeal! It was heavenly. We talked with our host at Gorgeous Stays Sparkle Mama and asked if we could get a ride to NOC at 10am. She obliged and off we went.

Nantahala River

On Zero Days, the idea is to rest and not do much. We lounged around, I mailed some things home that I wasn’t using and had lunch at Rivers Edge, again. Afterwards we walked over to the Adventure Center and were convinced that river rafting would be good therapy. Before you knew it, we were floating down the Nantahala River. It’s Class I, II with one Class III at the end. Basically a float with a couple of boulders to bump off of. We had a great time, getting wet, soaking our feet and the guide even stopped for a tour of a remote cave. Not planned but a great extra excursion. Super relaxing way to spend a Zero!

Rafting down the Nantahala River

Today I woke up at 5:30am ready to hit the trail. Sparkle Mama, our private chauffeur, drove us to the trailhead, and before long, Natalya was hiking. She was like a bull in a pen, ready to charge out and trample the trail. She already received her trail name “Blue.” She is dressed in many shades of blue from head to toe, has beautiful blue eyes and it seemed quite appropriate. She accepted the name from Turbo and has been Blue ever since.

Me with Sparkle Mama & Blue

Our mileage wasn’t the obstacle today. It was the climb. We were headed to Chawoah Bald with 3600’ of elevation. The first few miles were gorgeous, lush green forests, pine trees which I haven’t seen many of , and lots of colorful blooms. We climbed and climbed and climbed. Around 3pm, we finally reached the Bald, a grassy field that overlooks the valley, Nantahala River below and the mountains I’ve hiked through during the past two weeks.

Chawoah Bald

Once on top, I met a gal named Mystical. She said her name was given to her because she prays and believes that angels are looking over her. I shared with her my blog I am writing and gave her Psalm 91 laminated bookmarks that I carry with me. I explained to her that this is what I pray daily and believe that the Lord protects me. She was grateful, and was anxious to read it. She prays Psalm 23 and we recited it together on top of the mountain. God is so good. She’s section-hiking southbound but completed the AT years ago. Such a wonderful woman she is. The Holy Spirit is alive and well on these mountain tops

My new friend in Christ-Mystical

Natalya and I had a few more miles to crank out but mostly downhill. We arrived at camp near 5pm and found ourselves a place to pitch our tents. There were quite a few that arrived shortly after us, so we were lucky to find a place to lay our heads. I think we were both done for the day!

Home at last – Locust Cove Gap

As we were hiking today, we passed a south bounder who started the trail in Maine during the winter. He told us we were the 74th and 75th northbound hikers he had passed on the trail today. I honestly thought the majority of the thru-hikers were miles ahead but it appears we are catching up. The group I was hiking with last week are behind me so I’m meeting new people. It’s truly my joy to stop and talk with new hikers daily. Once again, I am hiking in the right place and at the right speed to share the good news. Another incredible day on the trail.

“If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

One thought on “Day 14-15: April 28-29, 2022. NOC to Locust Cove Gap Elevation Profile +3655/-1935 10.7 Miles; Total 147.4 Miles

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