Woke up at about 4:45am today. Had to get up early to make sure I didn't miss the 9am shuttle in to town. Had a 3.9 mile hike, if you include the .3 hike from the shelter back to the trail. We used headlamps all the way as the sun was not up yet. It was pretty cool, in the 50s with occasional rain and always mud. From the top of the ridges town lights could be seen off in the distance to the sides. Slim lost his headlamp a couple nights back and so just stumbled along close behind me while I lit the more difficult parts. We made good time, doing the hike in only two hours, and arrived at 7:20, with lots of time to kill in the cold.
Luckily, we hit on some trail magic. Peakseeker and '08 thruhiker was just getting up and offering a variety of breakfast cereals and some apples. Later on he said he would be cooking burgers. There are some great people out along the trail. Also ran into Stonekicker and took a pic of the AT tattoo he got in Helen, GA. Pretty neat, but a little premature I think.
There is one jerk around known as the "Red Truck Guy," he offers hikers a ride and then drives about 20mi off and demands $50 or leaves them stranded. Rumor has it that police are looking even harder for the guy now after a girl almost killed him in his truck, thinking that he was about to attack her. Most all hikers at least have some sort of knife and a few even have guns. Deadly Business. No telling what will happen though.
Got into town, dressed up in rain gear to do laundry at the Inn. All my clothes are in the wash so I have nothing else to wear. Got a badly needed shower and headed out to eat too much food at the local buffet, Daniel's Steakhouse. The guys - Slim, Jason, and Shiann, ate Chinese food.
Resupplied on food at Ingles grocery and then hung out talking in the parking lot all day, until we ordered pizza from Papa's Pizza. It was good, generic stuff like Pizza Hut. Made calls to people and caught up on things. I tried peanuts in Coke - a "Southern Specialty" - and found it no good. Finally met the fabled Misplaced Moose, a big girl on the hike. She headed out back to Unicoi Gap today after a zero, and later came back back quitting in triumph at Tray Gap. She had accomplished what she wanted and decided to move on, on her own terms. Though leaving is sad, it is nice to see a person so happy and content with a decision.
Head out at 11am back to Dick's Creek Gap. NC in about 2 days.