Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fontana Dam, and Lost Appalachian Trail Hiker

 

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.

IMG_2964

We saw the strangest looking cows.

black and white barrel cows

We went through Nantahala Gorge.  We stopped at a pull off and soon heard the sounds of very loud rushing water.

 

Nantahala National Forest

 

Nantahala National Forest rabids

This is the same gorge we went to last year and saw the freestyle kayak championships.  It’s a lot less crowded this year.

Nantahala National Forest rapids

Nantahala National Forest

It was a scenic drive the rest of the way to the dam. 

Map picture

 

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.

Fontana 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.

Fontana Dam

Notice the white blaze and how rugged the trail is?

Appalachian Trail at Fontana Dam

Appalachian Trail at Fontana Dam

Appalachian Trail at Fontana Dam

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.

Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake

This is where the Appalachian Trail crosses over the bridge.

Fontana Dam

Views from the dam.

Fontana Dam

They draw the water down in the fall in preparation for the winter rainy season.

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam

Can you see Al on the top right of the photo?

Fontana Dam

Al got a kick out of this life ring.  You probably wouldn’t survive if you fell here.  It was a loooong way down.

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam

 

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam

 

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam

 

Fontana Dam panoramic

It was a fun day and we really enjoyed exploring Fontana Dam.   We’re off early this morning for another adventure.

7 comments:

  1. Good thing you spoke to that woman or they might still be waiting for each other!

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  2. You're getting to have all the fun. Great pictures!
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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  3. I think your cows are belted Galloways (the oreo cookie cow). I think they are really cool. Wonder what the dam did for the war effort? Interesting that they require AT hikers to have permits. I've never seen that before. Lot of trouble for them I would think. You sure did a very good deed helping out that AT hiker and his wife. Lucky lucky for them you were in the right place to see them both. Great job Karen!

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  4. How very nice you got that woman and her husband back together. Next, you should try your hand at match making... ;c)

    I laughed at that life ring. Probably to prevent a lawsuit.

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  5. The cows are Belties and they are cool and a fairly rare breed. I have never actually seen them. Good for you for realizing that couple may be missing each other.

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