June 13, 2008
In June of 2004 Frank and I trekked on the Appalachian trail from Springer Mountain to Fontana Dam. We traveled for three weeks, stopping every 3-4 days to recoup. On the second stop in Hiawassee, GA, where we stayed 24 hours with my friend Pat, I almost wanted to stop but we continued and covered maybe 172 miles. The photo above is on our 2nd day in Blood Mountain, GA.
I belong to the Florida trails (though not actively) and a few people were going to hike on the Appalachian Trail from Fontana Dam. (They had been backpacking for at least a week before I joined them) The plan was to meet at Nantahala, drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to drop off my car, return to Nantahala and start walking on Saturday from Fontana Dam. This way we could walk for three days, camping for two and return by my car to Fontana on Monday.
The only thing that we didn't plan for was the Tail of the Dragon. The Smokies have two main entrances. It took us 2 1/2 hours, one way, to get to the West entrance, most of it on Route 129, which is the Dragon. It was crazy and we didn't get back until 11pm. We have to get up early and get to Fontana Dam?
Nantahala has these cute, if you don't mind sharing, cabins with bunkbeds. I was in a room with two Florida ladies, a mother and daughter. They had been on the Appalachian trail for 3-4 days prior, and slept soundly, despite my late night return.
3 weeks ago