11-7-09 day 158
start: Wayah Shelter, NC
end: Rock Gap Shelter, NC
daily mileage: 14.8
total mileage: 2074.4
We walked a mile to the Wayah Bald Fire tower in the morning. It's a cool, stone one with a great view. It was Saturday (only 1 more week on the AT!!!) so I thought I'd call dad to make sure he was still picking us up in a week. He was still sleeping, so I called him back at lunch, where we confirmed that we had a ride back to Ohio. Lunch was awesome - we could have gone 0.5 mile off the trail to Siler Bald Shelter, but we had water and Siler Bald itself was a shorter side trail off the other side of the trail. We decided to climb up Siler Bald for lunch, where we ate and enjoyed a spectacular view in all directions. The weather has been glorious this whole past week.
The top of the bald had a little firepit someone had dug out, so we built our first ever afternoon fire to cook lunch on. We enjoyed sitting up in the sun eating lunch by our fire, leisurely reading our books for a while. During lunch, a little prop plane flew by. We waved, and he diverted his course to fly directly over us, and not too far above us at all! We could easily see him lean out the window to wave back. It would be awesome to have a pilot's license and a little plane!
We crossed several nice streams on the way to the shelter and washed out our faces and socks, which was nice. We finally got to the shelter and were sitting around getting ready to cook when we realized that a relatively nice forest service road was right by the shelter, and we weren't far from the town of Franklin! Maybe we could get pizza delivered to the shelter!
There was no signal at the shelter. Fiddler wandered all around for a while looking for some, but found nothing. But the idea of pizza was really in our minds now. I mean, we really wanted pizza. We were going to have our pizza. I pointed out that we had nothing else to do that night... screw it, let's hitch into Franklin!
Thus began our Franklin adventure. We got way out on the forest road and found some signal (and no cars). So we called all the pizza places in town. Noone delivered out that far. We called Google 411 and asked if there were any other delivery places in town, and called Chinese places, Italian places... none of them delivered way out to where we were. But we couldn't give up now, so we made a snap decision when we saw a single car drive down the road. We flagged it down and hitched into Franklin. Bear in mind, by now it was already dark. We knew going into this that we were going to get stuck in town, that noone in that whole town was going way out into the middle of nowhere late at night for us to get a ride with. But we wanted food.
So Fiddler, Sea Monster, Tin Man and I got into town, and ended up eating not pizza but Shoney's delicious sea food dinner buffet. When we finally got done, we called a Trail Angel listed in the book. He wasn't available. We asked around about a taxi, but there was none in town. We even called the police station, but they too were closed for the night. Yes indeed, things seemed dire for our young heroes.
Fortunately, a man who'd overheard our plight approached Sea Monster and said a family had offered to give us a ride. Some super nice people just decided to go way out of their way and drive us to the trailhead. We felt a little bad about imposing ourselves, but we've gotten kind of desensitized to it for better or worse... and made it back safe and sound. They kept saying they were glad to do it, that they were hikers too. So, safe and sound, we made it back to hike another day.