3/27/15 Patrick Swayze and the Smokey Mountains

3/27/15 – 3/28/15 Fontana Dam Village – Unknown Shelter

We hiked out seven miles to Fontana Dam Village. The village made feel as if I was on the set for Dirty Dancing! Roub, Cider, Darwin and I along with another hiker couple Tough Little Biscuit and Optimist, all shared a little cabin. We did the usual laundry, showers, ate, resupplied, and ate more. We walked the grounds and explored the hotel as scenes from Dirty Dancing floated in my head.

We listened as other hikers came and went discussing the weather conditions for the Smokies. These mountains seemed so friendly and homey to Darwin and I thanks to our yearly vacations to Gatlinburg, TN. They now seemed incredibly intimidating as the their snow covered peaks loomed in the distance from the window I gazed from. When I turned to look out the window again just a few minutes later, I couldn’t even see the peaks thanks to the snow filled clouds that had settled over them. EEEESSSSSSHHHH!!!! I forced myself to return to my fantasies of carrying watermelons to Patrick Swayze; it was safe there.

We woke the next morning to our cabin dusted with snow and headed up to the hotel to eat breakfast; I did my best to not look out the windows. I lingered in the hallway lined with pictures of early pioneers living and thriving in the Great Smoky Mountains. I tried to gather strength from these stern faced, long ago peoples. I followed their pictures down the hallway straight to the bathroom room at least four times before leaving.

We hiked passed the famous Fontana Hilton and continued on to Fontana Dam. It was hard to hear anything thanks to the wind but I am pretty sure we all agreed Harrison Ford would have never survived his escape in real life. A little further on we passed the Smoky Mountain National Park Sign. After so many years of driving to the Smokey Mountains, we had walked here!

The trail traversed over spots of snow and cliffs. Looking out as we climbed, I could not believe how dwarfed the massive dam had become. We made it to the shelter and did everything with extra movements in order to keep warm. After dinner I did all my chores before slipping into my sleeping bag with a goal of not emerging until morning.

Currently there is s a tarp blocking the open front of the shelter and thanks to the hard work of Cray-Nip, Lucky Strike, Darwin and a few others; we have plenty of wood to keep a good fire going. I think I forgot to mention that it has dropped down past thirty degrees. Hence, why I am writing super sloppy with T-Rex arms sticking out from my sleeping bag.

The shelter was packed but everyone seems in good spirits. We saw some beautiful stuff today on the way in. The trees are covered with ice and sound like chandeliers when the wind blows and I hiked under an ice covered Rhododendron Tunnel. NOTE: We found out the next morning thanks to a weather app, that it had dropped down to nine degrees that night!


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