Day 27 -April 3 2017- 5.3 miles – Cable Gap to Fontana Lodge
It was raining in the morning and all the weather reports said it was going to get worse. We decided to try to book a room at the Fontana Lodge. We were going to stop there anyway to pick up a resupply box. I called and booked a room as soon as I found signal.
Not long after I made the call, the skies opened up. It was a massive down pour. Rain like that doesn’t usually last that long, but it just kept pouring. Soon we were soaked to the bone. Over the next few miles the rain never let up.
The AT goes by a marina. At that marina there is a phone that hikers can use to call a shuttle. When we got there there was already a line of hikers huddling under the overhang of a building. Soon a girl driving a shuttle van arrived and we crammed in.
As we were driving to the lodge we kept seeing more hikers along the roads. There wasn’t any room in the van and the driver kept saying she would come back for them. She called back to us, “Hikers really multiply in the rain!”
The Fontana Lodge is really a nice resort. The cool thing is that they offer cheaper rates in the off season. We got a really nice room for $80.
At the reception desk they had a hard time finding our resupply box. After much confusion we realized our mother had written our trail names on the box and the employees were looking for a box with our real names on them. It wouldn’t have been too big of a deal if our resupply box wasn’t there. There’s a general store on the premises. But it was nice to have the food we planned on eating. Especially because we were about to enter the Smoky Mountains.
( The lobby )
On the way to our room I happened to look into one windows. The hiker on the other side looked up. It was Neapolitan! He invited us into the room and we caught up. He was glad to see us and was surprised we weren’t way ahead of him. We were glad to see him and we were surprised to see someone who we started with. We made plans to meet up later and Stoat and I headed to our room.
A minute or two after we got to our room a few bolts of lightning hit in the parking lot. One of the bolts of lightning knocked out the power to the laundry mat. It could have been worse though, the restaurant could have lost power too.
After we were sure we weren’t going to be hit by lightning crossing the parking lot, we headed over to the restaurant. Before we got there we bumped met a hiker named Kickstarter. He was from the backwoods of Alaska. Stoat and I have family up there and both of us have, at separate times, been up there. We discussed a few Alaska specific things and I asked him why he wanted to hike the AT when he lived in such a beautiful state. He mentioned that he liked the challenge of it and the terrain of the AT, while different, was also beautiful.
Stoat and I ate lunch at the restaurant and went back to the room and hand wash our clothes, sort out the food drop box, and to take some showers.
( A note in the drop box )
We went back to the restaurant for diner. Stoat and I both ordered the chicken alfredo. What we got was some sort of baked mac and cheese with chicken. It was good, but it was not chicken alfredo.
We met up with Neapolitan after diner at the adjoined bar. We stayed there past the 10pm closing time. The small bar was filled with hikers and the bar tender didn’t mind staying if everyone kept paying. We had a good time but didn’t drink too much. We had some hiking to do in the morning.