After 5 miles of hiking, I realized it was only 10 to town! Got excited, caffeinated, and dehydrated Coker Creek, FS 228 was a confusing intersection southbound. I crossed the bridge and saw trail 153 and started heading up, only to realize it led to the falls. I backtracked and walked the road past the picnic area for a bit until I found it. Later, I got lost at Towee Creek picnic area. The BMT goes right across the delapidated road/court/dead end—it DOES NOT go to Towee Creek picnic area. Do not walk past the bathrooms, even though there’s a poorly put blaze around there. The trail does end up paralleling that road that follows the Hiwassee river downstream, though. Pushed hard and got tired. Busted the last 5 miles–nice and flat–and saw floaters on the huge Hiwassee river.
When I pulled into Reliance, TN, the Webb Brothers store, where my package was, was not open. I continued to the Hiwassee Outfitter, which seemed abandoned except for 3 people hanging out. I was treated to dinnner and beers and campfire with the locals. It felt a bit like study abroad—kindness to drink, smoke, and eat undercooked meet. I felt a bit guilty since I have so much more than them (I must have been wearing $700 worth of Patagucci), but they gave me so much. I almost couldn’t understand it.
A construction worker, Tim, let me sleep in his camper while he slept somewhere else. Reliance, TN was an experience in generosity that I felt so overwhelmed by that it was almost sketchy, and I felt guilty it sketched me.