That about sums up the entire day. For this entire trip I’ve been looking forward to having Sherpa rice at the NOC…and I bust my ass to get there for lunch and they closed about 30 minutes before I arrived. They will be closed until tomorrow afternoon. And what was worse was that it wasn’t just the main restaurant that was closed but all of them were closed because they were having some sort of employee meeting. Ice cream and soda from the general store don’t make up for the loss.
I slept in about an extra hour since I disturbed the gentleman I was camping with at the shelter the night before by coming in late. But I made good time packing up and leaving still a little bit before sunrise, although it was hard to tell because there were so many clouds.
I was basically hopping from shelter to shelter stopping for brief periods to drink or snack. The entire strategy of the day was to make the town of Wesser for lunch. The descent was steeper than I had expected so it took me a little bit longer. I was hoping to get there before 2:00 but I got there about 2:30.
I set my pack on the stone wall, took off my shoes and socks and set them in the sun to dry, and then walked down to the river to wash my feet. It took me just a few minutes to buy an extra pair of socks, actually two pairs and an extra shirt since the one I have been wearing is really starting to stink.
I got over to the restaurant about 2:45 and noticed they had a sign on the door that said the restaurant would be closing at 2 and would not reopen until 11:00 the next day. My heart sank. I walked over to the general store and asked which restaurants were open and they told me that none of them were open – they were all closed at the same time. Now my soul has been crushed.
I bought a soda, a beef stick, and an ice cream bar to eat instead of my lunch and bought some M&M’s and another beef stick for hiking out of town. They wanted $100 for a room and after not being able to eat there’s no way I was going to spend $100 on a sleezy room.
So I got out the map, figured out how far it was and what time I would need to leave to hit the shelter. It was 7 miles away and if I left before 4:00 I could probably get there just before dark. So that’s what I did – I left at 4:00.
The climb out of Wesser was not steep but it was very long, nearly all seven miles was up. It was over 5,000 ft of climbing. That’s normally the amount of climbing I do in an entire day, not just an afternoon beginning at 4:00. I tried to make frequent stops to eat and drink to keep my energy up and not waste time and keep climbing. When I was about 2 miles away it was evident that I would get there literally just before dark about a quarter to 8:00.
And my timing was perfect because I did arrive at just about a quarter to 8:00. There were three or four hikers already asleep there and I asked one of them if there were bear cables. He said “no” so there was no point in staying there. I decided to go back to the trail when I saw a good campsite and pitched a hammock and probably got a better night of sleep.
So now I am 21 miles away from Fontana and not sure if I should try to push to get there just before dark or go easy and slide in tomorrow morning. I will probably get an early start, at least leave the first option open and then see how the weather plays out tomorrow. All services in Fontana are supposed to be open but their communications line has been cut so their telephones are down and I can’t call to verify until I get there. Heck I may not even be able to verify it after I get there. I may just have to hitch the 2 mi up to the village from the marina. But that’s a story for another day.