Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fontana Lake: Aug '08

Finally, I'm getting some time to put up pictures from my August trip to Fontana Lake, NC.

For me, there is no more beautiful place to live on my boat and hike.
(click on any picture for a larger version)

For the first time in 12 years, I made the 240 mile trip with the boat by myself.

I planned to spend a few days alone then meet up with my high school buddy Scott from NY to do some hiking.

It was as beautiful as ever. After getting used to being out there alone, I was actually dreading the arrival of Scott. I had never spent a night on my boat with a male friend that was not a family member.

It turned out great. Scott slept on deck and I took the cabin. He was neat and clean and he hiked his ass off. I was amazed at his ability to do strenuous hikes. On the way to High Rocks on the Bear Creek trail, Scott got ahead of me quite a ways and came back toward me with his eyes wide as saucers... he saw his first bear on the trail. He surprised a medium sized lone bear that fled down a steep slope after a few tense moments where it initially took the high ground. It was a memorable experience for him. I've seen bear at least a dozen times in the wild but each time it's a humbling experience. They are amazingly fast and powerful.

First photo shows us getting ready for dinner at sunset.

Second photo shows the boat parked by the dam where we set off for the Appalachian Trail and Shuckstack tower - the best view in the GSMNP.

Scott set a ridiculous pace. We made it to the top - a climb of 2400' over 4 miles in about 88 minutes including rest breaks. That's 20 minutes faster than my previous fastest time with Shirley. It kicked my ass, my pulse stayed above 150 the whole time. It was very warm and we started right in early afternoon - the hottest part of the day. It was certainly comparable to a 8 mile run at 7:30 pace.

Fourth picture shows the view from Shuckstack. I found the old tower shack getting pretty ragged. The roof that I sat on looked as if it would soon cave in on one corner.

On the last day, we kayaked down the Nantahala (pic 5). We ate at Relia's Garden restaurant but found it disappointing. Not as good as it used to be.

Also, visited Cable cemetery on the North Shore. There was once a proposal to build a road to this area. I am so thankful that the Republican plan to devastate this wilderness with the North Shore Road proposal died when Republican Congressman Charles Taylor was defeated. People of North Carolina: thank you, thank you!

In these old cemeteries, it's amazing the variety of old fashioned first names found on these head stones. (Pics 6 & 7) I really find this interesting. I did a previous post on a similarly interesting cemetery.

Here's a sampling of the names:

Luecrecy, Lax, Dillard, Harve, Elva, Paralee, Hezekiah, Charlese, Oadis, Lavada, Leila, Flossie, Sufford, Prudee, Zuria, and Solona.

All this variety of names in a very small cemetery.

I'm hoping to return in a few weeks alone with my motorcycle where I'll explore the area by day and stay on my boat at night. It should be a very colorful fall. Hopefully, as colorful as it was 2 years ago when I visited the Cohutta Mountain Wilderness on Halloween day. I may do an article on my ride for Adventure Motorcycle Magazine, like I did a few yrs ago on that colorful ride.

I was all set to do this in mid July and then had a motorcycle accident that sent me to the emergency room. Pretty much ruined much of my summer. Check out how I plan to take both my motorcycle and my boat with my SUV

Sorry for not updating Bill's TN Paradise in such a long time. I must admit, I've been extremely consumed with political blogging and have been staying hyper-aware of the situation and all the nuances in this election year.

I've put up an unprecedented monthly total of 75 posts so far this month on my political blog and on TNFree. It's good to stay informed. The truth will set us free.

'Tis the season...

1 comment:

Pam said...

Beautiful photos! Some of my favorite places rest in the mountains of N.C.

My father had an aunt named Paralee, which I noticed is one of the names you listed here. My plans were to visit an old cemetary this summer while in W. Va. to search out a few family members. I was especially interested in finding my dad's great-grandmother's grave. Her name was
'Nichotie Cherokee England'.