We ate a delicious, hot breakfast at the Econo Lodge, complete with biscuits and gravy. The shuttle from NOC leaves at 9 and 11 and, still not morning people, we shot for the 11. We got some resupplying done at Old Dad's general store, which was a bit expensive. Still, the employees and owners of the store are super helpful and supportive. Then we hopped on the shuttle and headed back to Indian Gap.
There's something wrong with our experiences on shuttles. It seems we find the worst examples of hikers on shuttles. There are strange things, at least at the beginning of the trail, about people meeting each other. It is slightly reminiscint of the first weeks of college. Some people just try, although sometimes, awkwardly, to make new friends. Some people talk about all the ways they've prepared to be at this school and did you think about xyz (gear nerds on the trail). However, not having planned that extensively, we've learned some things from those guys. Then there are the wacky types, the ones that just blanket share everything in their resume, relevant to the experience or not, so that they can... cover up imposter syndrome? Hide other insecurities? Boast? Not sure. But oh boy did we get it bad on this past shuttle trip. We still not sure what this guy was on about, but if a bear eats him, certain indigestion. Moving back to it. It wasn't exactly raining at Indian Gap, but the thick cloud would condense on the trees and drip on us. Ponchos again. Though we didn't hit the trail until about noon, we were shooting for about twelve miles to Pecks Shelter. We quickly made it to Newfound Gap and met the hiker turned trail angel Yard Dart. His wife, Miss Bobbie, was still on the trail, but sadly Yard Dart tore his calf and would have to be out at least a month. He didn't seem too bothered though. He now waits for her at various trail crossings in his orange element, and helps all hikers that cross his way. Since he was a hiker, he has more than just the normal fruits and sweets. He had earplugs, hand sanitizer, lip balm, you name it. What a dude. We should probably keep to Miss Bobbie's pace to keep up the meetings.
As we hiked through our cloud, we came to a number of areas that had spectacular views of cloud. We would have seen why the trail near Newfound was so crowded if it were not for the cloud. The terrain for our 12 miles, at least, was fairly gentle. We did run across Walkie Talkie and Mother Goose on their way to Pecks as well. Mother Goose said they wouldn't make it in time, but seemed more annoyed than concerned.
During the hike we saw some great sights when the cloud cleared. Tyler took some photos because Emily wasn't tall enough to get the shot. He passed the camera back to her and inquired how he did, not noticing that he had included the camera's primitive case of a Ziploc bag. Here are his shots:
We managed the 12 miles in just under 6 hours and, just as we finished with the rainfly, the cloud began to rain. We sort of won?
We ate cup noodles and iced honey buns. Some of the things we are able to eat after burning 4 to 5 thousand calories should not be available to the general public. Such as iced honey buns, big Texas cinnamon rolls, and pecan pies.
After dinner and after hanging the bear bag, we found a single macaroni noodle (what is a single uncooked macaroni noodle called) that fell out of a box for a future meal. We knew we had lost our minds when we started making up songs about the bear that would smell out our single macaroni I'm a macaroni bear I brush my macaroni hair I've only macaroni cares Like my macaroni fare I'm a macaroni bear On a macaroni dare To steal your macaroni wares From your macaroni lair -DJ Yeti and MC Huggables