Getting lost is still a bummer
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.
Liz "Snorkel" Thomas
Liz Thomas is a well-traveled adventure athlete most known for breaking the women’s unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 15,000 miles across the United States. While not on trail, Liz lives in Denver, Colorado.