Monday, March 28, 2011

Fontana Dam

According to my virtual-dream-hike schedule I have here, today would be a zero-day at Fontana Dam.  My fantasy-hike was slow going through the Georgia mountains.

I'm thinking about weather tonight---the skies over Miami are solid red on the radar screen.  There's warnings for nickel sized hail and tornados.  And so the cats have decided to grace us with their presence tonight.  Lizard hunting is no good in a downpour, I guess.  They're inside fighting and the dogs are hiding under the bed, from the thunder or the cats. 

Up at Fontana Dam the forecast for the week is rain and temperatures between 55 and 35. There's a frost advisory tonight. Burr. 

Fontana Dam was built in the early 1940's by the Tennessee Valley Authority and is (somewhat morbidly, I think) named for the town it inundated.  It's 480 feet high and about a half a mile long.  It's the tallest dam in the eastern US.

From a hiker's perspective, though, the dam represents 166 odd miles in the bag and the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I hear there's a pretty sweet shelter on the other side of the dam (as you go north).  So nice, in fact, that it's nicknamed "The Fontana Hilton".

I guess it wouldn't be so bad to sit through a rainy zero day at a place that nice.  Taking zero days in the woods is economical--no where to spend money.  I hear resupply is expensive in Fontana Village--which is the remnant/descendant of the town they built to house the folks working on the dam int he 40s--but there is a post office there.  I'm thinking it might be wise to send a box ahead to pick up there.  One could call a shuttle from the visitor center at the dam, or hobble down to the post office under their own steam (it's 1.8 miles from the dam).

Well, here's to imagining foul weather camping while enduring lung-draining-tropical-humidity and nickel sized hail...

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