Wednesday, May 29th

Today Snail-No-More, High Tech and I would head into Erwin. We had all heard bad things about Erwin. I'd been told that it was not a friendly town, that it was hard to hitch into, that it was too spread out, that it just wasn't a town that thru-hikers would enjoy. Most people, we were told, continued on for another mile or so to reach NGC, the Nolichucky ________ __________, at which they could get a ride into town from one of the friendly employees. Even stranger is the story of the Erwin Elephant Hanging.

Many years ago the circus came to Erwin. On one unfortunate day, control was lost of one of the elephants. It trampled and killed a boy. It was restrained, but the public outcry was too great. A lynch mob formed, and a great railroad crane was brought from a nearby town. The first attempt to hang the elephant was unsuccessful due to the shackles attaching the elephant to the ground. After they were removed, the 'phant was lifted into the air and hanged by the neck until he died. You will not see any elephants in Erwin anymore.

Lacking elephants, we deemed it safe to proceed into Erwin. Empress declared that she would hang back and go to a nearby commune, The Haven, which had posted notices inviting thru-hikers. The three of us left Bald Mountain Shelter, passing by No Business Knob Shelter in early afternoon. As I was extremely low on food by this time, I spent much of the day quite hungry. This began to affect me in mid-afternoon, as we began the descent into Erwin. I found myself feeling dizzy, confused, dazed, with a nearly overwhelming desire to sleep. We descended to the road, exhausted, crossed the bridge over the Nolichucky, and sat down in front of a church to hitch. It took us half an hour to get a ride, and we had begun to get somewhat frustrated. A friendly guy in a pickup eventually picked us up, driving us straight to Jenny's Olde Towne Inn.

Jenny's Olde Towne Inn was not much of a hotel. The woman running it -- Jenny? -- told us that there'd be no phone in our room, as some recents guests in the same room had rung up some rather large charges. The logic of not putting a phone in a single room due to previous problems escaped me, but perhaps that's why I'm not running a hotel in Erwin.

Snail, Tech and I all showered. While the other two took their showers, I decided I'd run to a store and grab something to calm my appetite. I headed out the way we'd been driven in, walking past homes, doctors' offices and men mowing lawns, carving deep, dark green swathes in their suburban grass-gardens.

We're told that down in Carver's Gap, we passed some of the oldest rocks on the trail. They just looked like rocks to me, though. We passed on by the Stan Murray Shelter to Overmountain. beetles on the way, lots of inchworms. crawled to highest point and spun their way off. strange. overmountain big, red barn, must have slept dozens. craig enjoyed climbing rafters. we all ate, arriving around 6. couldn't see the sunset, but could see the I'd wake that early. up late talking. "Winter People" filmed there, 1988 film with Kurt Russell, Kelly McGillis and Lloyd Bridges. "primitive privy" looked like a water fountain. great place, asleep by 11 or so.

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