Camping at Fontana Lake - Lakeshore Trail - 5/20/06

This was our first family camping trip. Being our first outing in years, we chose to make this a simple 1 nighter. I chose Fontana Lake because I camped there a couple times in my youth as a camper at Camp Mondamin in Tuxedo, NC. The drive from Atlanta to the lake takes about 3 hours and we parked in the visitor parking lot at Fontana Dam. We hiked across the dam itself (The Appalachian Trail goes across this dam) and then took the lakeshore trail for about 1 mile (got our out-of-shape asses kicked by the trail) before we set up camp. It rained a lot, but we stayed nice and dry in our new REI Base Camp 4 tent! This first trip was really important because we learned a lot about the importance of pack weight on this first outing. The packs were extremely heavy, so we really got our asses handed to us. Naturally, we knew that weight was a big issue but it doesn't really sink in until you're actually doing the hike! We overpacked, and quickly learned what stuff we could do without on the next outing. It was also a good refresher course, as I had not been backpacking/camping in many years. Despite the ass-kicking we got, we managed to have a lot of fun on this trip and were hungry for more by the time we got back to Atlanta. Enjoy the pics!

Click on the small images below to view the larger versions

Josiah has become our official camping camel. He's too small to carry any real weight yet, but this little hydration pack we got for him is perfect and lets him carry the majority of the fresh water for the trip. The internal tank in this pack holds 3 liters, but with another bag in there as well he carried about 6 liters on his back.
On the way up, we stopped at Tallulah Gorge. The best part was the grape Ne-Hi sodas that the overlook store had!

The first picture here is Dani in front of Fontana Dam. The second picture is looking down the back side of the dam. The third picture is the Little Tennessee River leaving out of the bottom of the dam. Fontana Dam is in the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) system and is the tallest dam east of the Rocky Mountains.
Dani and I at the starting point for our little hike.
Josiah and daddy pose for a shot.
Beware of the bears!
Our gigantic 18 pound tent is all set up, complete with rainfly. Not long after, it started to pour.
Dani and Eric in love..and really really sweaty!
Eric whips up some dinner with the Jet-Boil. And yes, the Jet-Boil is badass. I highly recommend one. I've actually got 2 of them.
Josiah passed out after a long day.
The next morning we discovered that a snail has stopped by for a visit.
Check out the deer on the trail the next morning. We walked within about 5 feet of it.

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