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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Maineiac Outdoors with Carey Kish
Posted: April 12, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: To Fontana Lake at the doorstep of the Smokies

Carey Kish is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,200 miles over a period of 5-6 months. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here (read them all). You can also follow his journey on his Facebook page.

April 5, 2015: Cable Gap Shelter to NC Hwy 28 at Fontana Lake marina, 5.4 miles, 9:30am to 11:45am.

Last to depart the shelter this morning. Cold out, not far to go today, and just being plain lazy. I’m such a morning person anyway.

A good stiff climb right out of the shelter got me warmed up. Some more of those wonderful short steep pitches got me over the ridge, then it was down down down. Started to get views of Fontana Lake and Fontana Dam through the trees, but never a clear view.

Emerged on NC Hwy 28 and crossed to the AT information shelter just up from the lake and the marina where there were restrooms, a soda machine and a phone to call Fontana Lodge for a shuttle ($3, good deal). Shuttle was there in no time and soon enough I was in Fontana Village and the most excellent Fontana Lodge.

Fontana Village marks 160 miles from Springer Mtn, GA. Carey Kish photo.

Fontana Village marks 160 miles from Springer Mtn, GA. Carey Kish photo.

The lodge would be home for the night, plus they had my resupply box. Looking or a bite to eat in the restaurant (first things first, of course), I discovered that it was indeed Easter Sunday and they were serving an ACYE buffet. Pricy at $26 but so what. Smelly and ratty from the trail and as yet unshowered (the room wasn’t ready quite yet), I felt a little awkward in the dining room… For about a minute. Then proceeded to chow down on baked ham, roast beef and fired chicken plus a whole host of sides and a big salad. Chocolate cake for dessert and all washed down with plenty of sweet tea. Yeah.

Declined to waste time on tripping down to the laundromat downhill in the village shopping strip, i washed my filthy clothes with a bar of soap in an empty (and clean) trash bucket, then draped them around outside in the sun.

Checked into Fontana Lodge, a pretty nice wayside for hikers and tourists alike. Carey Kish photo.

Checked into Fontana Lodge, a pretty nice wayside for hikers and tourists alike. Carey Kish photo.

Wandered about the complex, down to the shopping strip which hasn’t changed one bit in 38 years, where there is a small grocery and gift shop (no stove fuel, glad I got it in Wesser), the laundry, snack bar (not open yet) and the PO. The gas mart further down the hill had cold draft beer, so I had a couple.

To bed earlyish snuggled amid the best lodging pillows ever. Weather looks awful for tomorrow, not a good way to start into the Smokies.

The Easter buffet lunch was quiet a treat! Carey Kish photo.

The Easter buffet lunch was quiet a treat! Carey Kish photo.

April 6, 2015: Fontana Lodge, 0 miles.

Decided early to stay another day and maybe get caught up on the blog and see if the weather might improve. Big breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon and biscuits and several large cups of Joe. Would eat next to nothing the rest of the day, excepting a hot dog at the gas mart.

Showers ended midday and out came the sun and up went the humidity. Hikers in and out all day. Great old place in immaculate condition, not much to do here really but a terrific place to relax.

Enjoyed a couple pints in the pub while talking with some regular hotel guests.

No AT&T cell service here so it’s been a bit of a black hole. Internet only. Actually did get up to date on journal. Out in the morning…

Not much had changed at Fontana in 38 years. Carey Kish photo.

Not much has changed at Fontana in 38 years. Carey Kish photo.

 

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