A hearty breakfast again courtesy of Donna at the cabin, and Phill dropped us off at Stecoah Gap.
Uphill again and it wasn’t too long before we hit Jacob’s Ladder, one hell of a long climb, straight up – no switchbacks. Given we were slack packing today it was a little easier (read: didn’t kill ourselves), and we were making good time.
We’d made Cody Gap in great time and crossed paths with St. Croix, a man who dons a beard like a man should – and he said he’d been growing it for about a year. We stopped for a bite and to hydrate before setting off again and over some rocky sections of the trail before hitting the very long and steep downhill.
We still had about three miles to go before reaching Fontana but we could see the lake and dam to our right the whole time, growing in size as we hiked closer. It was a gorgeous sight.
Cap and I had our stride and literally jogged down the final two miles, making the entire 13.9 miles in 5hrs 50mins, which included our two breaks of about 20 minutes each.
Knees busted and bellies rumbling, we checked into the Fontana Lodge and walked over to the restaurant which wasn’t open, but the bar was and Tie Dye insisted on a shot of tequila. I’m not a fan so I took a sambuca, fantastic.
Once the restaurant opened we filled our faces and I pigged out on a plate of spaghetti carbonara and some wings, which were fantastic. I hit the sack at around 9:00pm, tomorrow is a big day as we hit the Smokies. Wow, I’m amazed how far I’ve hiked.