The area around Fontana Dam reminds me very much of the Black Forest.
Fontana Dam is a hydro electric dam built in the 1940’s (in only 3 years!) to generate electricity to support the demands created by the war effort (and the development of the atomic bomb at Oak Ridge). The children (those still alive) of the dam builders get together here (Fontana Village, now converted to a holiday resort) in April and in October (spring and autumn) each year, they are called the Dam Children. I was fortunate enough to meet one of them, Wanda, a spritely 85year old, who proudly managed a 4 mile hike looking at the spring flowers earlier this week, and who was happy to talk to me about growing up here.
As much as our bodies can benefit from a rest day it’s harder than it seems to do nothing all day. Lying in is great as the bed is soft and warm and yeah for Trevor for getting up to bring me coffee in bed while I finished my book (reading on phone much easier than I thought; my iPad was sent off to my friend Mathilda in Erwin at the first post office I came across, making it impossible to follow my Lightstone mail 😀). However, if you have ants in your pants (definitely guilty) you can stay in bed only that long. Doing the laundry can only take up that much time and after unpacking all our gear, justifing why certain things are not worth ditching (it weighs hardly anything…..), having a beer&glass of wine (the barman has been to surf and waitored in SA 20years ago) we looked at each other and said: Wish we were on the trail now, once dry and cleaned up there seems to be no purpose hanging around.
The reality is that we opted for 2 nights in the lodge to avoid the extreme weather in the Smokies (some hikers were evacuated so we weren’t over cautious) so we should just suck it up and Rest. And carbo load as best we can. Quite hard when all food here is deep fried and whatever you eat just taste like batter (while my friend Helen tells me she is doing an Easter lunch with Parma Wrapped Chicken and Roasted Fillet….).
In for a tough 2 days starting tomorrow, climbing to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the AT. Got a serious message from my friend Mathilda (receiver of our in-the-end-this-is-not-really-essential-so-send-it-home packages) warning me that I should (especially in the Smokies) really be taking the bears more seriously (she clearly thought my baboon&bear post showed a scary ignorance).
We have been told that we will possibly have no reception for next few days. So silence merely means no connectivity.
PS: There are 2 restaurants at the lodge, one where we ate last night: the typical southern style dishes – everything deep fried in batter. The other one (we heard) serving better ‘cuisine’ …. Went there just now as a treat to ourselves and looking for a steak as Helen’s menu had my mouth watering…(and to get some good quality protein to prepare us for the climb into the Smokies). Though the fillet came at the price of a small car 😀 it was worth every dollar: the best meal we had since arriving in the States. There was nothing fried on the plate, the meat was top quality and cooked to perfection. This was eating to enjoy, not just cramming calories in to fuel the body. This was to taste the same as a Turner is to vision.