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Dale's Top Mentors 2 of 6

Steve Claxton (1955-2019), AKA Mustard Seed, is a name that echo's through the valley's and hollers through Swain and Graham Counties. I first got to know Steve through my good buddy James who I wrote about in a previous post. Before I even got to shake Steve's hand when we met I felt like I knew him from all the stories James told of him. Many folks around Bryson City have amazing stories of Steve's adventures. A couple of those to name are his cross country trek on a bicycle and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Both feats he used to raise money for non-profits.

We (me and Bobby) were fortunate enough to be able to guide with Steve on one of his Backcountry Hazel Creek Camping trips. These trips Steve hosted were also known as the Hazel Creek Hilton, or the Ritz Claxton! "Plush backcountry camping" was what Steve called it. There was no way we could have done it as well as Steve did and were blessed to be able to contract with him to host a trip for our clients. Spending time around the campfire with Steve or pulling the Hazel Creek Carts back and forth from the boat to the campsite at Proctor gave us time for candid talks. From how to braid hair for our daughters to how to best approach the famous honey holes on the creek Steve freely shared his advise.

As I reflect upon Steve's life and why he is such an important factor to me personally and professionally, I can't help but think of how much Steve gave away. His passion was helping children through Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Swain and Graham County. He gave so much of his time to helping others in so many ways. He was even instrumental in helping write the legislation that brought the Delayed Harvest program to the Bryson City stretch of the Delayed Harvest.

God called Steve home, what feels like way too soon from us. His impact on the community still has his ripples effects passing through. Those ripples also make it to every person who we encounter as Tuck Fly Shop.

Matthew 17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”


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