It was hot, humid, and very buggy. As we pushed on, trying to cope with our own ailments and appreciate spring, it became clear to us that we may not make it to Fontana in time. We rushed the last 1.5 miles to the visitor center only to meet Jackalope and Crash who were heading back. "The visitor's center doesn't open until May 1st." Arrrggghhhh!!
I called the shuttle service to Fontana Village and we got picked up, making it to the post office at 3:40! We were sweaty, tired, dirty, and emotionally spent when the shuttle driver mentioned that they still had rooms in the lodge at off season rates. I turned to Chiclet and yelled "happy birthday!" then told the driver to take us to the lodge.
We ended the day clean, with clean clothes, and a fantastic dinner in the restaurant courtesy of Chiclet's dad, who deposited money to her debit card for dinner.
April 17: we slept in until 8:30 at the lodge before having a leisurely breakfast, going to the post office to mail some things home, and getting some miscellaneous supplies. Just before the shuttle came to bring us back to the trail, who should come walking up but K-Bizzy! He was now about a day behind us but promised to try to catch is on Gatlinberg.
And then we were across the dam and into the Smokies! Do beautiful and green with flowers poking their heads up everywhere. We got a solid 5 miles out on our full bellies and sluggish legs and arrived at the campsite whet Subaru and Hawkeye had set up. Just before turning in, we knew we were really on the Smokies when Big Spoon spotted a bear. I missed or, but hope to see one (from a distance!)