Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fontana trip - June '09

Fontana Lake was beautiful as always. The best way to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

click on pictures to enlarge (I forgot my camera on this trip so all of these photos were taken with my cell phone. Not bad for cell phone pics!)

I'm always amazed at the length of the days up in the Smoky Mountains this time of year. This first photo was taken after 9 pm, shortly after sunset with plenty of day light remaining.

The first day, it was foggy and drizzly, so we waited until the next day to hike up out of Eagle Creek via the steep Lost Cove Trail to the Appalachian Trail and the Shuckstack firetower - the best view in the park.

Iska proved to be quite a great hiker, leading me up the steep trail at a relentless pace. Skipping over water crossings and balancing on logs over the creeks. She's also a nice subject to photograph as well!

On the Appalachian Trail, mountain laurel and flaming azaleas were blooming. We saw one bear on the way up and it was running away from us.

It was warm enough to swim and I waterskied after I gave Iska a brief tutorial on how to drive the boat. The water was like glass one morning and I couldn't resist.

We also visited some old family cemeteries, the visitor's center at the dam, and did a hike up the beautiful Forney Creek. I got into a brief debate with a retired TVA worker at the desk at the visitor's center about the North Shore Road controversy. I said, "I'm so glad they didn't build that road! I can't believe anyone would actually consider that a viable option." The old lady said "why not?" That set me off. Iska would say I was being pugilistic. (heh...look that one up)

Awesome trip.