Day 16 – Friday, March 25: Cable Gap Shelter to Fontana Dam, 5.5 miles, 164.7 total AT miles

I woke early and packed quickly, excited at the prospect of heading into town. As I packed, I did a quick inventory of my gear and decided I would send a few things home when I reached Fontana.

The descent into Fontana Dam was rugged and foggy from all the rain during the night. Before leaving camp, I decided to take two ibuprofen and not use my knee brace today. I’m glad I did – I think somehow the knee brace was doing more harm than good. While I still had to take it easy, I was able to move a little quicker without the brace limiting my range of motion.

  
After a series of switchbacks, I emerged onto Fontana Dam road at noon. I quickly caught a shuttle and checked in to the lodge. I hiked down to the “town” to do laundry and resupply. Fontana isn’t a real town, more than a resort with stores. There is no cell phone reception anywhere and the “campus-wide wifi” isn’t strong enough to make outgoing phone calls.

  
As the other guys poured into the Lodge, we found out pretty quick that our next door neighbors were the group Savage had been hiking with the past few days. Pretty cool – our group now included Medicine Man, Moon Boots, Shaggy and Owl.

We all sat down to a nice dinner and mingled with other hikers afterward.

I’m very tired, but ready to go – I received my mail drop that included enough food to get me to Gatlinberg as well as my zoom lens. While I haven’t had luck uploading pics from my camera to the website (I need GOOD wifi), I’ve been taking a lot of nice pictures. I promise.

I can’t wait to start the Smokeys tomorrow. I’m planning on hiking in about 10 miles and tenting (hopefully) at the first shelter. There are rumors of bear sightings.

Breakfast: nothing

Lunch: Ray’s Dill Pickle Potato chips and French’s Creamy French Onion dip

Dinner: No burger. I went for the meatloaf plate with and extra side of fries.

Late nite snack: Chex Mix

Money:

Shuttle: $3.00 plus $2.00 tip

Laundry: $4.00

Fontana Village General Store: $32.20

Lodge restaurant: $15.90 plus $5.00 tip

Post Office: $28.01. Canuck finally received his hammock and was about to donate his very nice Marmot tent to a hiker box. Instead, I paid for his room and shipped the tent to my storage unit in Seattle.

Room: $15.56 (times two)

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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