Trail Report – March 30 (165 miles)

Trail Report

elevation map

Dear friends,

I hiked out of the Nantahala River valley two days ago looking down on the river while the US Open in kayak skills was going on. It was a 5 mile climb to the top of the ridge. It was raining then, and it continued to rain for the next day. That night, the shelter was so crowded I decided to tent outside. The wind blew so hard I was sure that I was going to blow away. I have never heard such rain. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep that night. The next morning we were socked in with clouds, but in hiking out and over Cheoh Bald, I was amazed at the frozen moisture on all the trees. The rains stopped, and I hiked to the next shelter where I tented again. That night, all the thru-hikers had the best campfire. Today I hiked down to the Fontana Dam. I am staying in a place called the Hike Inn that serves hikers. I got a ride into Robbinsville to the library where I am sending you this email. But my ride is waiting outside, so I will have to sign off. Tomorrow, I head into the Smoky Mountains. I am so excited. I saw my first trillium flowers today, a sure sign of spring!

All my best,

Braid, AKA Joe Liles

15 Responses to “Trail Report – March 30 (165 miles)”

  1. Margaret Maynor [] Says:

    Joe Liles. You would start this incredible journey when I have just moved from Franklin, NC. Ahh, the times on Wayah Bald at the lookout tower. You are in beautiful country. The Smokies will take care of you. My husband worked at the visitor center in Cherokee for a year, and he actually did a study on lookout towers. My personal favorite is Mt. Camamener, which is not on the trail, but a beautiful tower. Now we are in the Redwoods National Park, enjoying the wonders out here.

    I will keep checking on your progress throughout the journey. Alan has stayed at the Hike Inn several times in Fontana as well as at the start of the trail. I would have enjoyed hiking with you on parts of the trail. My husband would have loved it, and you both could have learned so much from each other. I am so proud of you for doing this journey!

    Margaret A. Maynor (c/o 94)

  2. Rick [] Says:

    Joe Liles. I am extremely jealous. I’ll be able to do the trail someday God willing. Too bad you’re starting in the best part of the trip … WNC!

  3. Cari Carothers [] Says:

    Joe, you are an inspriation! You must be near Tsali National Park which is in the neighborhood of the Nantahala…I think that’s around Fontana Lake… a shame you couldn’t spend a day on wheels as the mountain bike trails there are great fun… and full of stories… night riders should look out for skunks…;o)

    I’m looking forward to watching your progress… so fun to have so many friends cheering you on…;o)

  4. Matt Richards (c/o 1997) Says:

    Joe, I hope you’re having the time of your life on the AT. Good luck out there!

  5. Stuart Pratt Says:

    Hey Joe! I was class of 2001 and helped you put together the slide show/music that year. I am glad to follow your progress on the AT as I have done many of the sections you are doing now! Good luck and happy trails. –Stuart Pratt

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Hey from class of ’97. This will be an amazing accomplishment. I’m trying to get up the courage to run just the georgia section. Enjoy a sunset or two for me.

  7. Jen Olinger (class of '87) Says:

    Joe, best wishes on your journey! Enjoy the beautiful scenery!

  8. Therese Taxis Says:

    Joe, the photos are amazing. NCSSM is a buzz with “Joe’s Journey” Can’t wait for you to break bread with the usual suspects for a very long lunch. Take care and be safe.

  9. Tom Glesne '82 [] Says:

    Aloha Joe! I’m one of those thousands who have done both ends of the AT, but never the middle. I am so inspired and re-invigorated reading about your adventure – go for it and never-mind the bears, just beware the boars! You are probably nearing Mt. LeConte and Alum Cove – some of my favorite spots on the southern end. Trilliums should be abundant… Don’t chug ‘water’ from a stranger’s Mason Jar – it probably isn’t water! Keep your socks dry and have a blast! – Tom G.

  10. Stanley Johnson (c/o 1999) Says:

    Joe, this is awesome and very inspiration. I wish you the best on your jouney

  11. Sandy Turner Gantt '83 [] Says:

    Joe, thank you for sharing this amazing adventure with so many, many of us that you have touched in your special way over the years at NCSSM. Stay warm and safe out there.

  12. Lisa Rohrbach Goodwin, '86 [] Says:

    My family vacationed at Fontana one year and it is such a beautiful part of North Carolina. Enjoy those Smoky mountains and trees…and consider a hike in the Pacific Northwest–it’s very magical up here too!

  13. King Jones (c/o 2000) [] Says:

    I’m really excited that you’re through hiking the AT. My best friend and his brother did it a few years back (in ’05 I believe). They didn’t receive their trail names until much later (Maryland I think), and they were Search and Rescue. Seeing the house at Blood Mountain reminded me of when my dad and I hiked there. If you get this before you get to the Red Barn around Hump Mountain, know a few S&Mers stayed there over a mini-term 9 years ago (and the pics are in the slide show)! Take care!

  14. Ward Travis '82 Says:

    Inspirational. I wonder how many of us dream of taking the time for treks such as this – either on foot, and perhaps metaphorically in other forms – other explorations, other self-development. I know I do. I wish I could accompany Dr. Liles on even a day of the journey.. I’ve only experienced a short stretch centered around Mt Washington (plus a mere toe-touch, once, near Harper’s Ferry). I imagine my favorite part of the day would be sunset: reflection on what was the five senses encountered during the day; the reunion with stars I rarely see out here under the sodium lamps of Silicon Valley; the uncounted shades as black zenith blends into the scarlet afterglow; the warm waves of weariness readying me for sleep and dreams. Peace be with you, Joe!

  15. Hernan [] Says:

    Okay why have I been away from your blog for so long?!! That black and white one that looks like film is a favorite!! And you are soooo very wecmole for the invite, you have helped me so much thank you! I have learned so much Adriana was such a fun senior

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