An early morning to head the last three miles into town. The plan was for dad to hitch in to resupply while mom and the kids hiked on. On the way, we met a German lady who informed us that where the AT crosses the Nolichucky river, an eponymous hostel offers shuttles into town at 9 and 11 am.
We quickened our pace a bit to make it to the Nolichucky Hostel by 8:40 where we were greeted by a passel of our hiking buddies.
At 9, we all piled into a 15 passenger van (dog included but not counted toward capacity), and headed into town. First stop: a breakfast dive that cooked fresh eggs on homemade biscuits with your choice of meat. Mama Bear, Cartwheel and RobinHood had two sausage egg biscuits a piece, while All-In, had two each of sausage, bacon and ham. Then dad and the kids headed off to the post office to pickup a shipment of dehydrated veggies from Mama Bear’s Farming efforts last year, while mom headed to the grocery store to resupply. We were also able to mail home a few items no longer needed (the old phone, now replaced by the iPad, and a few of dad’s warm clothes because he sleeps warmer than the others); unfortunately, the new camera battery ordered from amazon didn’t arrive, so we will have to wait until Damascus to see if that will fix my camera woes (in the meantime the iPad is doing double duty–oh the wonders of modern technology; a virtual electronic Swiss-army knife; however, the outlet at the hostel into which the iPad was plugged during the two hour foray into town was apparently out of service, so we left town less than fully charged- the timeliness of posts may decline until we can reach another outlet ).
Back at the hostel, the kids socialized with the hiking crowd while mom and dad repacked the food bags. A few of the hammock sleeping hikers we met the night before rolled in around lunch, and after a few conversations, we found ourselves the owners of a new ultralight hammock that RobinHood is trying out for his new sleep system (if successful, Cartwheel may follow suit leaving the parents with the privacy of the very own tent–albeit with micro-thin walls). In the early afternoon, we headed out and had a beautiful hike up out of e Nolichucky river valley. The trail followed gurgling brooks the whole way, and the hot sun lead to some dunks in the tempting water.
At camp, RobinHood quickly hung his new toy and climbed in to enjoy some early evening story time. We don’t yet have a tarp to weatherproof the hammock, but rain is thankfully unlikely tonight. Not to be outdone, Cartwheel decided to try “cowboy camping” (unrolling the bedroll with nothing between the slumberer and the stars) for the first time of the trip. Mom and dad will be alone in the ten with Orion in the vestibule. It will be interesting to see how much sleeping happens tonight.