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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: April 7, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: Going down to the river

Written by: Carey Kish

Carey Kish is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,200 miles over a period of 5-6 months. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.

April 2, 2015: Wesser Bald Shelter to NOC at Wesser, 5.9 miles, 9:15am to 11:30am.

Last to leave the shelter this morning. No matter, for I’ve got only 6 miles to go to reach The Nantahala Outdoor Center in the Nantahala River Gorge in tiny Wesser. Last thing I thing I did before striking off was to visit the privy. A true shithouse here and not a fine experience. Somebody’s got to say it.

Hiked along the high and narrow rolling ridge line for a good hour. Drank in the mountain views through the bare trees and enjoyed the occasional open viewpoint. At times the ridge is only 8-10 feet wide and drops off steeply for probably a thousand feet on each side. Think Knife Edge but with it cloaked in trees.

A fellow hiker negotiates steep terrain on the descent into Wesser. Carey Kish photo.

A fellow hiker negotiates steep terrain on the descent into Wesser. Carey Kish photo.

Sharp up at The Jumpoff, then a big plunge downward toward Wesser, from 4000 feet to 1750 feet. Looking north I could see what awaited me tomorrow, the arduous ascent of Cheoah Bald. But for now it was down down down for a long time to reach gentler terrain around the Rufus Morgan Shelter. Less than a mile ahead I was looking down on NOC. I could see already that the place had changed and was bigger and busier then I remembered from 1989 when I was through here last.

AT at NC Hwy 28 in Wesser. Carey Kish photo.

AT at NC Hwy 28 in Wesser. Carey Kish photo.

Old motel on the old section on Hwy 28 was still there, but I could it was no longer the hostel. Reached the General Store and checked in for the bunkhouse. Wow, there’s a lot of people and activity here. Room was still be attended to by housekeeping (this would later prove rather funny), so veered off into the River’s Edge Restaurant for lunch. It was noon after all. Mondo club sandwich, fries and a pint filled the hole.

Timing is everything! Carey Kish photo.

Timing is everything! Carey Kish photo.

After, grabbed key card and trundled over to the bunkhouse area. Bunk room is about as spartan as could be. Light, bench, two bunks, trash can, fan for summer, heater for, well, heat. All housekeeping would have to do is sweeping the floor and empty the trash bucket. Go figure.

Shower house above had best shower to date, a whole row of them in fact. Still can’t scrub off that hiker stink though. Think I’m stuck with it.

Laundry in rear of General Store was next, the I sat in the restaurant with a couple beers and took advantage of the WiFi there to get some blogging done. There long enough to get an early dinner too.

The River's End Restaurant is a decidedly popular hiker hangout at NOC, the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Carey Kish photo.

The River’s End Restaurant is a decidedly popular hiker hangout at NOC, the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Carey Kish photo.

Outfitter had my resupply box, plus I bought two canisters of drive fuel. Had called Fontana and in talking to the person at the store there was not convinced that there would be any fuel available when I got there in a few days (I would be right). Browsed the store bug couldn’t find anything else I needed. Waiting for Express Mail package from home with my bivouac bag in it. Fran posted it the other day, should be her by 3. Wanted it for extra warmth going over the Smokies and the high mountains beyond. At least through Damascus, Virginia I’m figuring.

Spartan but entirely adequate bunk room at NOC. Carey Kish photo.

Spartan but entirely adequate bunk room at NOC. Carey Kish photo.

Later… It’s nearly 7 and the package has not arrived per the outfitter. Will check again first thing in the morning. Could be at the main office, which is now closed. We’ll see. If not I will have to wait until mail lady gets here at 10:45. Oh goody.

Bunk cozy and relatively quiet. Rain just before dark. Sorted through gear and readied somewhat for morning. Book then sleep. Sorry I’m not taking a day off here. Place has everything and it’s al centrally located. Love the rafting/boating places like this. Reminds me a lot of The Forks in Maine. Miss being on the river.

I do love getting my resupply boxes! Carey Kish photo.

I do love getting my resupply boxes! Carey Kish photo.

 

 

 

 

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