It turns out that Sally is most likely behind me, not ahead. Found out last night via grapevine that she stayed in Franklin nursing a sore knee. I called our next mail drop place Fontana and she has not picked up her box. So I'm waiting for the outfitter here at NOC to open this morning; I never thought to ask yesterday if she'd picked up THIS drop because I assumed she was a couple days ahead. I'm kicking myself for not knowing by ESP that she was behind me. I'm worried. If she hasn't picked up her box here, I'll wait until she does, and start calling places back in Franklin if hikers coming in today haven't passed her.
"Fidget" (a guy) pulled in later and had been with Sally overnight a couple shelters back. She's on her way. Should get here tomorrow. We (Fidget, N-Da-Wind, Jessie's Girl, Jedi and Matt) found a wonderful unofficial campsite on a flat topped hill overlooking the rushing Nantahala River which sounded wonderful all night. We had a campfire, beer, and a great time. I'm SO relieved...I thought everyone was ahead of me and that I was all alone out here. I guess they all stayed an extra day in Franklin!
Baltimore Jack, a Trail legend, and his pal Sergeant Rock showed up yesterday. They had some serious hooch - Jack is packing 25oz of Jim Beam which he ships himself in his mail drops - and gave me some. Then someone gave me a beer. This is like, about noon and I haven't eaten much since I'm not hiking. Whoo. Spin City.
BaltimoreJack unpacking his mail drop box
Baltimore Jack, me, Sergeant Rock
Baltimore Jack signing my hiking pole
Sergeant Rock signing my hiking pole
I found a rain jacket discarded in a "hiker box" here (take what you want, leave what you don't). I cut the sleeves off to fit my water bottles and made carriers for them (dental floss for thread) to go on my pack straps for easy access. threw the jacket back in the box - maybe someone will want a short sleeved rain jacket.
My new water bottle carriers
Then Sergeant Rock had a proposition: his car was parked at Fontana Dam, 30 miles away, and he needed a 2nd driver to go with him in a borrowed car to get it. So I did that, but told him I needed an hour to sober up before we could go, since he and Jack got me drunk. Hard to believe that 2 days ago I was so miserable I wanted to go home.