We had a great hike, great weather, plenty of wildflowers and mushrooms along the trail, and a fantastic group to share this adventure with.
Brent Martin started the morning with a reading of Bartram poetry and with some new hikers joining the group for this section, we did a quick round of introductions, recalling a fun memory from our childhood!
This section starts with a short 1/4-mile roadwalk on the shoulder, which is not ideal, but there’s not much in the way of alternate routes. This is one road walk that we just embrace. A few more signs of civilization and the past are taken in before we hike into the woods.
As we drop off the road and into the forest, the experience shifts to a more tranquil pace as we begin to notice the wildflowers, mushroom, and other flora along the path. Pinesap, blue fungus fruiting, jack in the pulpits going to seed, and the iconic rhododendron tunnels are some of the welcomed sights.
This is a unique section, traversing Lake Nantahala’s dam and old riverbed. Signs of the efforts by Duke Energy to warn hikers of the dangers of the valley during water releases join the wildflowers. Pools of still water and trickles of the remaining flow of the Nantahala River reflect our surroundings. Most of the river is now diverted through the series of pipelines that generate energy as well as regulate flow for the commercial rafting and kayaking operations.
We’ll continue our journey, section by section, until we reach Cheoah Bald. It looks like we’ll get this round of section hikes completed by the end of November.