This week we learned

We currently sit at Fontana Village, a resort village less than two miles from the trail, the Fontana Dam, and two days from Tennessee. The shelter near the dam is known as the Fontana Hilton, with trail talk of showers and electricity, however we opted for a quick night in town to rest and do laundry which turned out to be grossly worth it.

  
That chocolate malt was made with five days of AT dirt, sweat, and roasted with North Carolina sunshine. It took multiple rinses and we’re thankful because tomorrow begins the Smoky Mountains, right after the AT crosses the Fontana Dam and enters the Great Smoky Mountains, America’s most popular national park. The Smokies are somewhat unique with the trail passing through a national park, requiring us to buy a $20 pass good for eight days in the park as a thru-hiker to cover the 70 miles of expansive mistical mountains.

  
Here, Stumble is pointing at Clingman’s Dome from the Wayah Bald fire tower in North Carolina. It’s the highest point on the AT at 6667 feet and within a few hiking days of Fontana Dam. We’re eager but hesitant with some harsh and cold weather approaching, though with the Smokies elevation, weather isn’t necessarily expected to be on our side. Regardless, we’re well stocked with a fresh food box resupply from our friend, Kayla! 

  
We’re incredibly thankful for the love and energy from her and our friends at Perrin Brewing Company. As we pass out of the Nantahala National Forest, share with us some memories of our jaunt through NC before it weaves along the Tennessee border until Virginia:

-Stumble isn’t the only one to pee herself on the trail anymore! It turns out the cold means I’m not done going when I think I’m done going. I relieved myself and began hiking again when Stumble turned around and pointed at a big wet spot in my shorts that I didn’t even notice and laughed. Humility was the word of the day.

-Farts are now known as our butts blowing kisses at each other.

-Hike Your Own Hike (HYOH) is a common expression on the trail, especially as we critique and discuss other hikers’ choices for gear, motives, etc. No matter what, hike your own hike. Some other noteable acronyms: NOBO means northbounder and SOBO means southbounder.

-we caught up with the Warrior Hike, a group of ten military veterans that are hiking to Maine together. It sounds like an awesome program and definitely selected ten really cool vets (of varying backgrounds and ages) to hike this year. We shared a drink with some of them last night in Fontana and have been playing leap frog on the trail with members of their group for about a week now.

   
   

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About Ben Stark

My name is Ben Stark, no relation to Tony or the House Stark. B.A. in Sociology from Calvin College Preferred mode of transportation: Bicycle, Ice Skates, Feet Currently pursuing Adventure as Vocation Let's cross paths!
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