Day 23- I forgot to tell you but the climb down from Clingman’s Dome yesterday was through a river bed and the trail is very poorly marked so at times I question as to whether or not I missed a slight turn. Backtracking is not something I would like to do, but there were times when I figured I would just end up at a river and then have to get un-lost. Ultimately a white blaze will appear like a beacon in the night and restore my faith of being on the right path!
So this morning was a fairly easy hike which made things go faster for me. I make it to the TN/NC border there at Newfound Gap and Ed was waiting there with Trail Magic. Those doughnuts tasted so delicious! Saucy and I had decided to share a room and she and others from the night before were waiting. He was going to take us to town but we got a ride from a lady who runs a hostel from her home. When I came out of the woods there were 4 or 5 buses there loaded with seniors and they were mingling everywhere. One guy who really didn’t look much older than me stared at me and finally asked about what I was doing. After telling him I went off to look for the others. I spied them at Ed’s truck and made my way over but in the meantime I ran into the same guy again. He brought others, spoke, and took pictures of me like he had seen a wild bear or something. I think these seniors need to get out more often and not on a tour bus!
So we get into Gatlinburg, a small touristy town. I would choose a different place to stay for a vacation if it were me but that’s just me. Our first stop was the NOC, Nantahala Outdoor Center. They offer free showers to thru hikers and it felt great! There was a can of Lysol there so I gave the insides of my boots a good once over since they had been wet for a couple days and didn’t want them to start getting funky. The people at NOC were fantastic and so helpful. Then we left to devour some food. It’s amazing how hungry hiking makes you.
We made our way to the Motel 6 and the more we walked off the Main Street the more it began looking like a carney village. It obviously is where the seasonal workers stay and a bit sketchy, I must say. People cautiously watching you, most missing many of their teeth. Anyway we got our nasty clothes together and the motel guy said there were coin washers next door, so off we went. Well apparently yesterday some guy thought it was a good idea to strip naked in front of kids and do his laundry there so the motel manager said no one could use the machines unless they were staying there. Our motel guy was nice enough to give us our money back and we continued uphill to where everything was and got another room near a trolley that took us to the outskirts of town to the one and only laundromat.
We saw Slip and Slide there, she has decided to leave the trail. We finally resupplied our food and yes it is true, do not go shopping when you are hungry. If I can pick my pack up now I should be good on food for awhile. I wasn’t sure it would all fit! We stopped for a sweet potato and salad for supper, packed up our packs and went to bed. It is way later than we normally go to bed but it is clean, temperature controlled and not on the ground! So for tonight, Good Night and Sweet Dreams!