Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 16: The March to Fontana Dam

March 23: It rained hard overnight, but much to everyone’s surprise, the sun was back out again by morning. It looked like it would be a clear and beautiful day! I was among the first to wake up in the morning and tried to quietly go about my business of eating breakfast and packing my backpack.
Another beautiful day! This was my view from Cheoah Bald early in the morning.

The day was largely uneventful. Downright boring when you get right to it. At Stecoah Gap, someone had left bananas on a picnic table, presumably for thru-hikers to help themselves.

I had originally planned to stop at Cable Gap Shelter for the night, perhaps the smallest shelter I had seen that looked like it would be crowded if more than two people stayed in it. I was feeling a little anti-social at the moment in any case and decided to go on a few miles further, cowboy camping between shelters.

Late in the day, I saw views of Fontana Dam and the lake it created. Life was good! I could have totally hiked there for the night, but I refrained because if the shelter at Fontana Dam was anything like I remembered from before, it was going to have a huge number of people there. It was among the biggest shelters of the trail and in a somewhat populated place. There would be hikers partying all night long. Or drinking. Or whatever. I didn’t want to be a part of that.

So I set up camp at an area my guidebook describes as a “stream” with a “footbridge.” If the stream or area has a name, neither are mentioned in my guidebook, but it left me about 3 miles short of Fontana Dam and—more importantly—largely to myself. It would be my first night on the trail all to myself. It didn’t look like it would rain so I didn’t even set up my tarp. Cowboy camping on the trail! And about an hour’s walk in the morning to Fontana Dam.

Step count today: 44,325 steps
Distance today: 18.3 (a new longest day!)
Total distance: 171.1 miles
My shadow picks up my pack. You didn’t know it could do that, did you? =)

A few trees look like they haven’t figured out that fall has already come and gone and that they should be in their winter hibernation state.

Mushroom colony on a dead tree.

Banana trail magic at Stecoah Gap.

Stecoah Gap


Cable Gap Shelter looked so small, it would feel crowded if it had more than two people in it!

Through the trees, I could see Fontana Dam and the lake it created behind it.

My campsite for the night. =)


Anonymous said...

I've been searching #nobo2015 and #ATthruhike2015 on instagram. I'm fantasizing about my own overnight hike someday and it's pretty cool to see all the daily photos.
Anyway, I'm and seeing a lot of "hipster" hikers. Is that representative of who's on the trail or is that more representative of who's using instagram on trail?


Ryan said...

I'm not even sure what a "hipster" hiker is! =) Some hikers are probably more hip than others, though. I, for instance, have the hippest pack on the trail. *nodding*

Can't say that I'm very familiar with Instagram, but the hikers who show up in my blogs are probably pretty representative of what you'll see on the trail. At least the more noteworthy ones I've talked to more show up!

-- Ryan