Cowboy camping was, unfortunately, a complete disaster. We got nommed on by no-see-ums and some mosquitos, and Ryley asked if we could either try to set up the tent or go in the shelter. I said “no, we’re having an adventure!”. 10 minutes later it started to rain. So! We moved into the upper bunk of the Fontana Hilton shelter and had a dry sleep while it rained all night.
We were woken up to the sound of a rodent gnawing insistently on (I think) the shelter itself…kind of hard to sleep through. It was very wet out so we stayed in our warm sleeping bags for a bit and listened to the raindrops on the roof. We convinced ourselves to get on the trial by 8 but we didn’t make it very far – q mile down the trail was a marina and we decided to see if they might sells coffee (wishful thinking…). The guy running the store (Tim) said no, but he had a pot made and we were welcome to help ourselves. Hurray! We sat in the marina store chatting with Tim, drinking coffee, eating a warmed up plastic wrapped Danish (I’m not sure I ever would have thought I’d call one of those things “good”…but I am now) and watching it intermittently pour outside.
We moved on around 9 and had a big climb up from Fontana Lake, then lots of up and downs. It was a soggy day walking through the clouds and getting rained on off and on. We stopped at a shelter with the Highwaymen for a late lunch. We had another big climb to end our day up to Cheaua Bald – another spot we’d been told to camp on for a beautiful sunset and sunrise – but it was completely socked in and we’d gotten poured on again after lunch. So we carried on another mile to Sassafras shelter where we got into dry clothes, made a hot dinner, then crawled into bed 🙂 Another 5000ft or so climbing day, 23 miles.