After a “high morale” campfire last night, we woke up later this morning to frozen ground and snow still around. I packed slowly today due to changing clothes in the cold. Bennett got the bear bags down and had hot water by the time I had finished packing. Someone had started the fire again, so we sat around it eating and joking.
We hit the trail later this morning at 9:30. We made good time with lots of hills to climb. We reached Tellico Gap at 14:30 and it was warm with open skies above the roadway and power lines. I did some foot repair, and we helped ourselves to water jugs from trail angels to refill by.
We climbed a lot, then descended into the Wesser Bald shelter, right past the water source. We snacked early and made cheese quesadillas pre dinner. We were set up near the trail, so we saw several folks we know hiking by to get to the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
We decided to wait until tomorrow to do the last 5.5 miles downhill. It will be raining, so we plan to stay near the NOC for the evening. There is a 7 mile climb the next day away from the Nantahala River.
Several of us — including Bison, Inflammable, and another — went back .8 miles to the Wesser Bald observation tower to view the sunset, but the incoming cloud cover blocked it. We came back down and sat around the fire for about 30 minutes before going to bed.