Blairsville, GA (high 83, low 58)
It’s predicted to be a little warmer today, but we’re not complaining, because a cold front is coming with one night predicted to be 38 degrees. That’s starting to get a bit too cold for me.
Yesterday, we ended up taking a long drive up to Fontana Dam, in North Carolina. It’s on the southwest border of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
We went north on hwy 129 through Murphy, NC and over to hwy 28 through the Nantahala National forest.
It was a pretty drive.
We saw the strangest looking cows.
We went through Nantahala Gorge. We stopped at a pull off and soon heard the sounds of very loud rushing water.
This is the same gorge we went to last year and saw the freestyle kayak championships. It’s a lot less crowded this year.
It was a scenic drive the rest of the way to the dam.
We were told that Fontana Dam is the highest dam east of the Mississippi. It was built on the order of FDR after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was needed for the war effort. The massive project was completed in just three years.
The Appalachian Trail actually crosses over the top of the dam.
We went to the visitor center and briefly chatted with a hiker, who said he was doing portions of the AT.
Later, we heard him talking to the lady at the visitor center. It turns out he had been waiting for his wife to pick him up. He had no cell service and couldn’t reach her. The lady at the VC had someone from the lodge pick him up and take him back to the lodge, for whatever reason. Maybe he was staying there, or for better cell service?
Later, after we had spent an hour or so seeing the dam and visitor center, we drove over the bridge to where the AT connected. We briefly walked on the AT. It was 4:30 pm by this time, so it was real brief.
Notice the white blaze and how rugged the trail is?
After a few pictures, we walked back to the car. A lady sitting inside a car in the parking lot that we had not previously noticed, said hello. We said hello, got into the truck and started to drive off, but then it occurred to me she might be the wife of the hiker we had spoken to earlier. I went over and asked her if she was waiting for someone, and we figured out it was indeed her husband that we had seen earlier. I directed her back down to the visitor center and we later found out she and her husband had been waiting 5 hours for each other and had both been waiting in the wrong spot. I imagine both of them were very worried about the other one. There was no cell service here, so they couldn’t call each other.
So, back to the beautiful dam.
This is a view of Fontana Lake before we got to the dam.
This is where the Appalachian Trail crosses over the bridge.
Views from the dam.
They draw the water down in the fall in preparation for the winter rainy season.
Can you see Al on the top right of the photo?
Al got a kick out of this life ring. You probably wouldn’t survive if you fell here. It was a loooong way down.
It was a fun day and we really enjoyed exploring Fontana Dam. We’re off early this morning for another adventure.