Hi guys, sorry for the delay in posting, but I've been in the Great Smoky Mountains for the past few days and obviously internet is not readily available. I'm writing this from the Hots Springs, N.C. outdoor store and I only have limited time, so I'll go in parts.
Fontana Dam was the last major area I stopped in about a weak ago. As the name suggests there is a dam on the Little Tenessee River with an adjoining resort village that offers some resupply, and I was supposed to recieve a mail drop with food for the Smokies there, but alas it was several days late. Fortunately I had some food left so I hit up the grocery there, got restocked to get through the mountains, told the post office to foward my package here to Hot Springs. The shelter at Fonatna is know as the "Hilton" because its relatively large (holds 24 people), has lots of floorspace, a nearby bathroom with free hot showers, a water fountain and spigot, and a shuttle to the resort. The place was pretty full with lots of fun characters so a good time was had by all, and included some trail magic in the form of free pizza and beer. There were encroaching clouds in the morning but I decided to get an early start on account of the massive climb out of the dam. It started pouring about as soon as I set foot across the river, but I was pretty well covered and the rain soon subsided. The day was mostly uphill into the park and ended in Spence Field Shelter, an clean, quite place up on a high field with nice views of the mountains. The sunset was awsome with purple clouds fading against the hills past the straw covered field speckled with trees and wildflowers.
The next day's forecast was for rain in the afternoon so I headed out with some raingear on. Saw some wild turkey and boar early on, but things soured a bit when it started pouring once again before I could get rain pants on, resulting in soaked boots (they have yet to fully dry out, still). I stayed in the Silers Bald Shelter, and it quickly filled up with hikers straggling in from the rain. Some people from the Fontana shelter joined, as well as some days hikers and we all decided to end the day early and wait out the rain, which proceded all night and filled the shelter with staccato beat from the tin roof.