April 14

Started off by crossing Fontana Dam (a truly immense piece of concrete and a remarkable piece of engineering). Had a steep uphill with some impressive views including those from a rickety old fire tower before the weather rolled in, then got some cold rain. Cartwheel’s morale is directly proportional to the barometric pressure, but the rain passed through by late afternoon and she perked up to her usual chipper self. In the Smokies we can only stay at designated shelters. The one we were aiming for was full, so we pushed on three more miles to arrive at a spacious shelter with a fire going in the indoor fireplace. The kids read some on their kindles while the adults made dinner and hung wet clothes to dry. When we went to look at the trail guide PDF on the kindle, we discovered that Cartwheel and created a password. When pressed, all she could remember is that she had “used some nines and threes and maybe a one or a two.” After a failed brute force attempt to break the code, Cartwheel had a moment of clarity and we regained access. Now its off to sleep with the shelter mice and snorers…

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4 Comments on “April 14

  1. Wow! What an adventure. Thanks for sharing your stories and experiences with us. We are inspired, especially by Cartwheel, with whom I share a mutual discomfort with rain showers while hiking.

  2. How long will you be without Orion? At least he will be well-rested when you meet up with him again. The swim must have been very refreshing!

  3. Congratulations on your third state! Keep Tennessee on your left and North Carolina on your right and you’ll be in Virginia before you know it!

  4. I remember Fontana Dam from a Smokies hike many years ago. We started at Clingman’s Dome and hiked South. Two of us went ahead to hitch hike back to the car after a few days on the trail. The road we met after crossing the dam was infrequently travelled, to say the least, and it was cold and wet. As seems to happen from time to time at remote trail crossings, we ended up getting a ride going the opposite direction, because it was the only car we had seen in hours! Have fun and watch out for the wild pigs!

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