I don’t have a lot to add to Pilgrim’s post from last night. The weather was obviously nasty and most smart hikers had found their way down off the mountain as evidenced by the large number of hikers we encountered at the Fontana Dam Lodge.
Just a few notes to add:
* Our original shuttle driver that was hired to take us from the bottom of the mountain to Fontana had to bail on us as he was called out to a “hiker rescue” in Tennessee. Not sure what that meant but it didn’t sound good.
* About halfway down the mountain I suddenly was aware of someone yelling up the trail behind me. As the person got closer I realized the yelling was an unending string of expletives!! @#$%^&*! I slowed down and once the hiker saw me he stopped and apologized. He stated that this was his “therapy”. Obviously, someone wasn’t having the hike they had planned.
* Lee proceeded me down to the trailhead at the bottom of the mountain by about 30 seconds. At the bottom were three different carloads of folks who were taking pictures of the AT signs at the side of the road. Once they spotted Lee they asked if he had actually hiked down from the top in the snow. (!) Lee said “yes” and they asked to take his picture! After taking Lee’s picture they asked to take mine. Oh, the darn paparazzi :).
*At that same trailhead take a look at the picture of Lee and me. Lee appears to be smiling, but actually his face was frozen in that position. It took us an hour to get Lee unfrozen. (Just kidding Lee :).
Time to head home. Maybe the fall will present an opportunity to come back in decent weather and “clean up” the parts we skipped. When talking to my wife Sherry about the hike she asked if Lee had any weather issues last year when he hiked the complete section between Springer Mountain and Fontana Dam. I said, “no, only the one night with me on Blood Mountain”. She then asked if I saw the pattern here. I think she has a point.
Until the next time,