January 20, 2013
Cable Gap Shelter, again
At first I considered pushing past Fontana and returning to Walker Gap or “Camp Site” to create a 15 mile day. Leaving me 12 for Monday. However, Walker Gap was not that great, so I decided to turn around at Fontana and return all the way to here, leaving me 9 for tomorrow. 8.5 to be fair. I should be out by 1pm if all goes well.
Arrived at Fontana Hilton at 11:30. Talked to a through hiker City Slicka who is SOBO and has been on the trail since last March. He doesn’t really have any plans, so may just turn around once he reaches Springer. He has been at the Fontana Hilton (large 2-deck dogtrot shelter that might sleep 30 if packed in) since Saturday, waiting on a mail drop. Since it is a holiday weekend, he may have to stay till Tuesday. After lunch I hiked across the dam to touch the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sign, and turn around. This is my northernmost contiguous point on the AT.
The second half of the hike was sluggish – also mostly uphill. Some massive climbs, Fontana being the low point for miles around. Sweat / layer management became tricky in the temps. The shady side of the slope stayed in the high 30s all day. Passed 2 guys NOBO about 1 hour out of Fontana, then a group of day hikers with a dog.
Legs felt tired today. I’m hoping that is “2nd day blues”, a theory I’m developing (or observation, rather). Seems like the second day of a multi day hike is always the worst. A combination of physical & psychological adjustment, motivation, and often circumstantial. Today it was physical and a little motivational. Could also be the out-and-back nature of the hike. The sense of accomplishment is diminished, and you are retracing steps. Much more economical though, and logistically a no-brainer.
15 miles today.