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  • Writer's pictureRobert Moore

Franklin to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)

We had a great rest in Franklin at a hostel called the Barn. It was hosted by a community supporter and was free of charge including warm beds, shower, laundry and a great home cooked breakfast. Oh and they ran us all over town. We waited out a strong rain storm while we zeroed and rested up.

But Mother Nature wasn't done with us yet. We ascended out of Winding Stair Gap on the 3rd of April and climbed the stunning Wayah (wolf in Cherokee) Bald. We pressed on another 3 miles to a shelter for a 12 mile day. Of course it was full so we pitched tents and climbed into our sacks at the customary 8 pm. The temp was dropping quickly and an early Spring (winter) storm was blowing (howling) in. As I zipped up my rain fly it was beginning to snow. We had mediocre tent spots and it was a tough, cold night with about 2 hours sleep. I woke up at my usual 6 am and crawled out into the freezer. The wind was whipping at 30 mph up at 3000ish feet so we decided to delay our start by another hour - at least the sun would be up by then. Me, Cornbread and Cocaine Bear were the first to leave camp at 8 am. We pushed another 12 miles through a miserably cold and gloomy day. Cocaine Bear broke his foot and had to leave trail - he's out for this year. Cornbread and I pressed on and made it to Wasser Shelter - and it was empty! We quickly claimed our spots, ate and warmed our hands and feet by the fire so we could sleep.

A word about shelters - they have mice and they want your food. If you leave an empty Cliff bar wrapper (any food product) in your pocket they may eat through your bag and pants pocket to get it. So we hang our food bags and back packs to foil the mice and the bears. We had a dog in camp so we weren't worried about bear.

It was another fitful, freezing nights sleep. But we didn't have to deal with tents. And no mice issues. We woke to fresh snow.

It was then a short 5 miles to our next stop - the NOC. Short but not quick - it was a painful and treacherous descent down into the Nantahala Gorge. It took 5 hours of painstaking and careful climbing (not hiking) to reach the bottom. But a warm meal and a warm bed were the reward for our first snowy leg of the trail. Likely not our last as we will be traversing Clingmans Dome and other 6000 footers soon.

Eric Steadman will be joining for the next 27 mile hike to Fontana Dam. He is an ole war buddy and a close family friend. He gets to start in the morning with an 8 mile/3300 feet elevation climb. That's roughly 8 hours of solid climbing out of the Nantahala Gorge. I'll let you know if we make.

By the way, nighttime lows will be in the thirties - so I might sleep without the top on the tent. Lol.


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9 Comments


Zach Fincannon
Zach Fincannon
Apr 10

You the man brother. Love ya

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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Apr 10
Replying to

Hey man! They have a lot of hills on this trail. My hiking buddy is an 0311. He was in Afghanistan when I was. We probably got shot at by some of the same fine people.

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Ron Connelly
Ron Connelly
Apr 10

Love the comments. I'm Cornbread's dad. Have fun and be safe!!

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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Apr 10
Replying to

Nice to meet you! He’s a great young man. Someone asked the other day if we were father and son. At least she didn’t say grandfather.

Cornbread doesn’t have any quit in him - he’s a Marine all the way through.

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Bob Lonsberry
Bob Lonsberry
Apr 09

proud of you, stud. drive on.

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Donnie Mote
Donnie Mote
Apr 06

Rob,

Make sure you see the sunrise on Clingmans Dome. I think it’s 22 miles from the NOC. It is straight up also it is so worth the view if it is cleared that morning..

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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Apr 10
Replying to

We’re trying to work it out - but the shelter system can be a little tricky and the penalty (rather hiking 5 miles in the dark or spending an extra day - which means carrying more food) could be high.

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kennethwhite
Apr 06

Wow. What a leg of the trip. I can't imagine all the great stories folks along the trail have who have helped out all those who went before you. You're achieving something really incredible, Rob. Life changing I'm sure. It's comforting to know....I would think....when we're doing something incredible like you're doing now....that looking at that incredible thing through the lens of God's perfect timing and divine orchestration...knowing we're right where we need to be in this certain season.....makes the experience all the more rewarding.

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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Apr 07
Replying to

Very well put. I talk to God all day - everyday! There is no question he is with me on this journey.

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