On the 5th of this month I did a post about my brother, Jeff, starting off on fulfilling his childhood dream of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail following the fine weather from south in Georgia to Mt. Kathadin, Maine. Right now he’s in North Carolina and sent me the following:
“Thursday I hiked 12.7 miles to Fontana Dam to stay at the Fontana Dam shelter. It’s called the “Fontana Hilton” because it’s one of the largest and cleanest shelters on the Trail which holds about 28 hikers and is maintained by the TVA. Here are some picture of where I stayed for the night.”
I’m assuming this is the lake formed by the dam. (Almost added an end at the end of that word.) It’s hard to tell since he’s sending these via his phone and the photos and text come separately so sometimes there’s a bit of a guessing game one has to do to make sense of it. Sometimes it’s obvious.
Unlike most of the shelter areas, which are packed dirt and muddy after a rain, the area has packed gravel so mud isn’t tracked into the shelter. Down past the shelter is a picnic area with a fire ring where we set up a camp fire last night and roasted hot dogs for dinner. I’d been thinking about getting a hot dog in town for the last 2 days hiking to Fontana but I managed to get 3 last night for free!!! Yesterday, I spent a “zero day” to rest my left knee which has been causing me some problems and also took a shuttle from the shelter into town to pick up a 5 day food drop at the post office. At the post office I met a kid who had just did a southbound section hike of the Park and encountered 4 bears in the last 12 miles hiking out of the Park.
“The hike into the park from here involves a 2,700′ elevation gain in 11 miles. The weather report calls for rain for the next wee which means no scenic views of some of the best parts of the Trail.
“I called a shuttle service in Cherokee, NC for a shuttle around the Smokies to Davenport Gap. The price quoted was $109. There’s another guy here at the shelter with a bad ankle who’s been taking some zero days trying to heal. His trail buddies have already gone ahead into the park and he’s anxious to catch up with them. I’ve been trying to talk him into sharing the shuttle with me so he can move ahead and meet his buddies in Hot Springs, but he can’t make up his mind.
Well. I’ll be calling the shuttle service in the early afternoon to confirm the ride. Get back to you later.
The hike north into the Park from here involves a 2700' elevation gain in 11 miles. The weather report says rain for the next week which means no views in one of the best sections of the Trail.