Sunday, April 05, 2009

Fontana Dam to Russell Field Shelter

Friday, 4/3

AT Miles = 13.8 / 177.5
Other Miles = 0 / 13.4
Total Miles = 13.8 / 190.9

When I went to bed last night I had pretty much decided to take a zero at Fontana Dam, but apparently sometime while I was sleepibg I decided not to. I woke up about 3:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep because my mind was full of all the things I still had to do before I would be ready to head out. So, I got up and washed out my bandanas (I have three, one for washing my body, one for washing my dishes, and one I keep in my pocket all day for wiping away sweat, dirt, etc.), I moved the socks I had washed last night, but were still wet, so that they were sitting on the heater so they would dry fast. I finished up those ands a bunch iof oither little chores, then at 6:00am I headed up to the main lodge and used the public computer to upload my photos so you all could enjoy them. When the restaurant opened at 7:30, I had a great breakfast, then headed back to my room and finished up my bounce box, grabbed my pack and trekking poles, took one last look around the room to ma
ke sure I hadn't left anything, then headed up to check out and to get a shuttle bacxk to the trail.

It was heavily overcast and very windy, but it wasn't raining and I actually got a few photos of the dam as I walked across. Once across the dam I walked into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That was exciting.

The trail climbed steeply and it quickly got colder and wetter and cloudier. It seemd to take forever to get anywhere. Finally I arrived at the shelter and it was one of the old fashioned ones with the chain-link fence across the front and a gate that could be latched at night when everybody is in for the night.

It was wickedly cold with the wind blowing. I had my doubts that the water for dinner would ever boil on my wimpy little alcohol stove, but eventually it did. I managed to stay awake for a decent interval after supper, standing around in the shelter talking with other hikers, then crawled into my nice warm sleeping bag around 8:00 as the sun went down.

Allen Freeman

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