This hike was for two nights and three days, from Winding Stairs near Franklin, NC to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in Wesser. Our total logged miles, including off treks to shelters, was 32.46 miles.
Day one we set out at about 12:04 PM from Winding stairs off hwy 64 about 12 miles west of Franklin, NC – elevation, 3720 ft. Our destination was the Siler Bald Shelter, which we arrived at 3:11 PM, 4.8 miles and at an elevation of 4649 feet. Set camp for the night.
The next morning, Saturday, we would set out for Wayah Bald, and then Cold Spring Shelter if we could make good time.
But before we set out for Wayah Bald, we climbed the summit of Siler Bald, elevation 5196, which we reached at 8:27 AM.
We parted camp at 7.49 AM and reached Wayah Bald, elevation 5298 feet at about 12:50 PM. This was by far the toughest part of the hike for me, approximately 7 miles of steady uphill climb on a rocky, rooty trail.
But the climb was well worth it, with spectacular views.
After a one hour rest, we broke out for Cold Spring Shelter (elevation 4963 feet) and arrived at 6:08 PM.The length of this leg, including off treks, was 6.09 miles.
We totaled about 16 miles this day, so we were wasted. The evening was cool, and there was a steady, pleasant breeze coming off the mountain all night. The only bad thing about this Shelter was that it was located right at the stream, so millions of bugs were swarming until dark. Bug spray did little to deter the varmints.
The next morning (Sunday) we broke camp at 7:46 Am, and headed for Wesser Bald (total miles trekked was 7.03 miles). Elevation profile was from 4642 to about 4500 feet on the Bald summit, so this part of the hike was mostly a level ridge hike.
We departed Wesser Bald at 12:45 PM for our final trek to Nantahala Outdoor Center, a trek of 6.10 miles. Profile descended from 4301 feet to 1745 feet at the Center. We reached the center at 5:05 PM.
This was a great hike. Despite the temperature in major cities being 94 degrees, it was fairly cool in the mountains the whole trip. The only complaint I have was the bugs, but that is a given when hiking during the summer in the mountains. Looking forward to more hikes like this…
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