Dear Herm’s Hikers,
Greetings from historic Fontana Dam, NC, one of the largest man-made structures in the east. There’s a great history here. If you get a chance, look it up on the internet. It was a CCC project under Roosevelt in the 30’s. Who knows, maybe there be similar project under President Obama. No doubt, some major construction projects are needed in various parts of the US.
It’s been a relatively quiet week. The weather has been… terrific for the last three days. The nights are still bitter cold and the days warm with temperatures in the mid-50’s. Spring has arrived in the valley but no quite on the peaks. On the southern exposure of the mountains, wildflowers of white, purple, and yellow are starting to bloom. No wildlife sighting other than a few squirrels. Injuries are starting to take thier toll on my fellow hikers. Knee and ankle injures are main causes for the dropout rate. It’s like playing in the NFL. Some days, you just have to play hurt, but you don’t want to play injured. Knee and ankle braces are the biggest selling items in the shops. It ain’t easy being a thru-hiker.
The Nantahala Outdoor Center, or the NOC as it it commonly called, was flooded with white water river guides from all over the country and Canada. It seems the NOC is the east coast mecca for whitewater at this time of the year. The guides take various training/safety classes on the rive before they return to thier jobs. These kids are the true gypsies of the road. They travel from river to river seeking at kind of work on the water, living in tents or cars along the way. It’s a nomadic kind of lifestyle, almost like being a hobo during the Great Depression, only these kids have jobs. Instead of Kings of the Road, they are Kings of the Whitewater!
The hiking still includes at least two steep mountain ranges per day. Now that hikers are entering the Great Smoky Mountains, I doubt if the terrain situation will change. The elvation will now be in the 5 to 6 thousand feet range instead of the 4 to 5. Most hikers predict a few days of extremely bad weather, to include a possible snowstorm. I believe that we’be been down this way before. Mother Nature continues to throw everything at the hikers. AT boot camp continues! Pray for sunny days! Until we greet again! Don’t forget if you want a e-mail flyer (Herm’s Hike) to forward to family and friends, send me an e-mail. I’ll get back to you pronto! Have a great week! Gatlinburg, TN, is the next stop on the route.