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