(I ran solo, left a stash box at the upper trailhead but did have my boyfriend meet me at the very end and my dog ran with me for the last 20 yards in case that makes this a "supported" rather than self-supported effort. i will say i failed to do it previously because i went out on my own and knowing that my BF and dog were waiting at the campgrounds made my second attempt more successful)
shame on me for waiting so long to finally explore this trail. as you can see from all my pictures, i was in a state of awe over and over and over. i camped the night before at the paradise campground, a few miles from the lower trailhead and conveniently right along the trail. I started and finished at paradise campground. From Paradise, I went downriver to the lower trail head before turning around and steady clomping up to the upper trailhead where i had a stash box for resupply. there's a small bridge from the parking lot to the trail at the upper trailhead that makes for a great place to stash your goodies to stay in shade the whole time. from the upper trailhead, i turned around after resupplying and continued back downriver until i hit my finish point at paradise campground again.
The trail is gorgeous! super fun and gentle and springy for more than half of the miles and just enough fun tricky footing in parts to keep me honest. temps were so amazing the whole run. a cool breeze comes off the river, you can get misted by the waterfalls as you run past them, and theres so many places to stop and dip. PLUS even after the warm weather we had, there was still snow along the trail!!! there's only one tricky bit of navigating, where theres a log jam that you use to cross the river but it's only tricky if you're expecting the way across to be confusing. turns out you dont have to have a 20 minute mile where you crisscross 30 different logs and shimmy up a burned tree to cross. you just have to go down to the river and cross one large stable tree. haha! whoops! there was a good amount of hikers in the area around sahallie falls and the blue pool but i wore bells on my vest which minimized how many times I had to say pardon me, on your left, coming up behind you etc. despite the popularity of the trail, for long stretches of trail, my only company was the sound of my bells and the river. i imagine if i had done this on a saturday or sunday, i would have seen a lot more people.
food: i started with 2 bottles of skratch super carb, a few pieces of cake, and 3 springs. i resupplyed with 2 add'l bottles, one small can of coca cola, 4 more springs, one peanut butter sandwich and 6 dates. this feels like i ate a lot which was the hope! easy to keep the stomach happy cause it was easy to keep the body cool enough. i sunscreened once in the morning and never had a problem with sun burning thankfully!
FYI - i did not have any cell reception (verizon) from the upper trailhead for about 20 miles, which is to say i did not have any cell reception for 40 out of 50 miles. this wasn't a problem in the day time as theres enough people around and the road is right there BUT if anyone should feel like doing a double OAB, which i had initially intended, just know that you'll truly be alone for your night miles and you wont be able to contact any support people you may have. also, my suunto watch took 2 hours to kick in with GPS so start your watches early haha.