Fontana Canoe Trip Aug2014

Fontana Lake Canoe Camp Trip | AUGUST2014

What was supposed to be a 2 night camp trip to Fontana Lake and hike to Shuckstack fire tower in North Carolina turned into something totally different.  There were four in party…Chris Smith, Josh Baty, Erik Hood, and of course myself…Jeff Benefield.
After winding our way down the Dragon’s Tail between NC/TN.

We got to the Fontana Lake Village Marina to unload our canoes for a 5 mile canoe trip across Fontana Lake to campsite 90.

Shortly after setting up camp, a bear cub paid us an evening visit.

The immediate question was, “where the H#ll is mother bear?” Typically, being loud and throwing things at bears will scare them off. NOT THIS TIME!!! It was not afraid of humans no matter how bad we rough -talked it. We even threw multiple rocks at it only to cause it to climb the nearest tree. After an hour of it going up & down trees, encircling the camp multiple times, and walking up within 2 feet of us (I even poked it with my hiking pole because it was walking toward me), we decided to evacuate camp around 9:30pm.

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can’t just camp anywhere as you have to reserve a backcountry campsite permit. So we decided to troll back 5miles in our canoes to our trucks at Fontana Village Marina to sleep in our trucks. After 45 minutes of navigating Fontana Lake in total darkness, except for our headlamps and a hand torch, we completed our night time evac successfully without incidence. The night time canoe voyage offered a unique experience of viewing the clear night’s galaxies, planets, stars, and even the occasional comet all while wrapped by the Appalachian mountains. Even though we didn’t get to experience Shuckstack Fire tower on this trip, we did have the adventure of a night voyage on famed Fontana Lake.

Until next time…,

JBEN

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