I LOVE ADVENTURES!!! I live for them each and every day! But the ONE THING that I am already dreading most of all is not being able to share my stories with each of you. So as I sit here on this log along the A.T., I’ve been thinking about an idea and just wanted to get your honest opinion.
Many of you have just met me through facebook and only know me through my journey along the Appalachian Trail. You don’t know what I do in my every day life back home in the Smoky Mountains. Well, believe it or not I do something very similar to this for a living. I take people camping, fly fishing, hiking and exploring in the backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, mostly at a sacred place known as Hazel Creek. I’ve been camping, fishing and exploring this Creek for the past fifty-one years. I have operated my guide service there for the past twenty-three years. I temporarily discontinued my business to hike the trail for a cause, Big Brothers/Big Sisters. It is an organization very near and dear to my heart. But what about when this journey comes to a close? Write a book about it or put together a photo album to share my stories about “Life Along The Trail?”

What would you think about the idea of continuing my stories, not about my journey along the A.T., but stories of “The Life of An Outfitter On Hazel Creek.” I have had so many interesting clients over the years as well as stories about bear encounters, sharing history along the creek about copper mines and logging towns, and of course fish stories. My business has been featured in many magazines and publications and most recently was featured on The Weather Channel’s morning show with Sam Champion. They camped with me for three days and aired a 3 minute segment featuring our camping/fly fishing trips. I’ve had NFL head coaches and players as clients as well as mafia bosses. You name it, I’ve had them. And then there are the annual trips with families such as the Paul Young family who bring happiness to our hearts just to spend time in the woods with them!

For now as my good friend Jimmy Blevins puts it “Trudge On Mustard Seed”, and I will, sharing my stories about “Life On The A.T.” But looking toward the future I just wanted to see if there might be an interest in continuing my story, a different story, about a different place, a place very near and dear to my heart, a place known as “The Legendary Hazel Creek”!!!

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'Standing in the doorway of the 135 year old Hall Cabin on Bone Valley, a tributary to Hazel Creek.'
Steve Claxton's photo.