A Few Adventurers

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I met Blue Velvet and Gardener in Gorham, NH. They are south bounders also known as SOBO’s. I gave them my number and told them that I’d love to give them some trail magic when they got to the Smokies whether that meant watching their dog or bringing them a couple cokes. It’s fun and rewarding to give trail magic, I received so much and it always felt so good. It worked out perfectly. I watched their dog Sasha while they went through and met back up with them at Fontana a few days later. They are so close to finishing. Make sure you check out their blog at: http://bandofadventurers.tumblr.com/

I’ve also picked up a few more SOBO’s in Bryson City the last few days. There are not many of them but it’s so cool to see them coming through. Thru hikers have a look about them and if you see any on the streets just ask them if they are thru hikers. It’s easy, they will have back packs on and probably be holding trekking polls. Just shout out: “Are you guys thru hiking!?”. If they are, ask them if they need a ride. It’s worth helping them out. Then take just a minute and hear their story. Ask them the standard questions: What’s your trail name? What’s been your favorite part of the trail? What’s been your least? Do you need anything? Then buy them an apple. Oh, and don’t forget to take a picture and jot down their trail names. You’ll want to remember them for the next thru hikers you meet!

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Upper Nantahala

Upper Nantahala

So it’s rained all day and you know what that means…I worked. And then all of a sudden, as if it was unexpected though it totally was not…Philip, my roommate, walks in “The Upper is running! Wanna go?” YES!  I forgot how beautiful it is to paddle in the fall. The mountains were “on fire” as a fellow boater said today. And that they were. Oh those beautiful, beautiful leaves. Here’s a little raw footage for your enjoyment hopefully. The upper was running pretty high, if you can catch it at this level it’s so much fun and very constant.

The Chair Scenario

Classroom Desk and Chair

You know how teachers say “Don’t lean back in your chair” or “Keep all four legs on the ground please”? Obviously they are implying that you could flip over backwards and hurt yourself. There are always reasons for rules and rules like this are put in place because some clumsy fool has flipped over backwards and got hurt.

I must confess, that if it hadn’t been for the fact that I had been told this rule all through school, I would believe that I am one of the reasons for it.

Yesterday, I was reminded of so many fun memories while I was visiting my Alma Mater, Mars Hill. Today I have decided to share one. The chair scenario. This all happened in over time period of just about .97648 seconds but it felt like minutes.

It was during an English class that I was taking my sophomore year I believe. I’m only questioning the validity of the year, it was definitely an English class. I was never good at English so please allow me to use that excuse when I structure a sentence poorly or use words which I think sound intelligent but make no sense. Like the title, really I just think it sounds cool.

Anyhow, I was leaning back in my chair, which as previously stated is a bad idea, when the floor apparently shifted and the two legs on which I was leaning upon followed their uplifted brethren. Typical right. Kid leans back in chair, legs fly out from under and the clumsy kid falls. This situation, however, was atypical. You see I never fell. I’m smooth like that. Instead I kicked the desk in front of me sending it flying approximately 3 feet forward making that awful sound that school desks and chairs make when that slide across those waxy vinyl tile floors. Reaaaaak! This was a great move on my part for now my chair was no longer in the perpetual falling motion but had come to a halt teetering on which direction gravity would take it.

Sense I am an exceptionally fast thinker I knew that the wall behind me would be the perfect catalyst to set me upright. I swung my arms back in a sweeping motion snagging some small piece of insignificant plastic as I saved my self, while simultaneously turning off the lights to the classroom. My jaw dropped as quickly as my brain sent signals to my arm screaming for it to reactivate that not so insignificant little piece of plastic. And the lights were back on as quickly as they went off.

You know it’s amazing how fast the heads turned. I had just made the most phenomenal save in my life and the class was laughing, the professor was glaring, and I was filled with the satisfaction of my performance while at the same time had the “oh, $@%#!” face as my eyes came into contact with the professors.

I’m pretty convinced she was laughing inside. I mean how could you not! Oh that .97648 seconds. What a fantastic moment. Needless to say, I received a C in that class.

Springhouse Branch Loop in GSMNP

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I’m calling this the Springhouse Branch Loop but it doesn’t really have a name. It’s about 17 miles of beautiful trail. The first 5 or so miles are not bad…but once you hit Springhouse it’s UP hill for a long ways. I started at the end of the Road to Nowhere aka Lakeview Drive. You start off by walking through the tunnel which is really creepy to walk through alone from there it’s all right hand turns. The trail is well marked and easy to follow but you should take your map just in case, it happens to the best of us. Anyhow, it took me about 6 hours to finish, I was actually about 2.5 miles away when I did the video. I’d probably plan or more time or even 2 day this trip. I’m not a super fast hiker but I don’t stop. Also don’t expect any views especially if the foliage is full. For the most part it’s a walk in the woods but 5-6 miles of that is right beside a creek.

Lonesome Pine

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Yesterday evening I had a wonderful 7 mile hike up to Lonesome Pine Overlook starting at the Noland Divide Trail from Deep Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains just minutes away from Bryson City. Wow, that a mouthful. This was my first time making that hike. It’s 3.5 miles up hill but the reward is well worth it, the trail is clean, and the gradient is pretty gradual. If you haven’t done this hike and you are in Bryson City area make sure you do. Here’s a nice link for more trail information.

What to Take

Here is a very small list of items to take on your hike to Lonesome Pine.

  • Small Day Pack
  • Shoes: You could make the hike in flops I guess, but you probably wouldn’t want to.
  • Snacks: Granola Bars, Gummy Bears, whatever you would like.
  • Water: There is no real good water source on the trail. I took 1 liter and was fine. I drank maybe 1/2 a liter. If you drink lots of water,  2 liters should be more than enough.
  • Trekking Poles: Optional. They are always nice but you don’t need them.

Cost

The only cost is your time and it’s well worth that.