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Upper Flats - 8/9/2008
Twentymile Creek, Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park

This was our 3rd backpacking trip for 2008 and had a round-trip distance of 8.5 miles. As with the trip before this one, we left from our house early Saturday morning at around 8AM. We got up near the trail head around 11AM or so, which was a little ahead of schedule. We decided to burn some time with a visit to the bottom on Fontana Dam. We've been to the top of the dam plenty of times, but never to the bottom. It was pretty neat and we got some nice pictures. Anyway, after wasting some time at the dam we finally hit the trail at around 12:30 or so. This hike was split between 2 trails: Twentymile Trail and Long Hungry Ridge Trail. Twentymile trail was the first trail and made up the majority of the hike. Twentymile Trail was steady uphill for most the way, but it got REALLY steep for the last 1/2 mile or so on it's way up the peak where it meets Long Hungry Ridge Trail and 2 other trails. Once the trail peaked out and we got onto Long Hungry Ridge Trail, things leveled out and the rest of the hike was relatively easy. 4.25 miles into the hike, we arrived at campsite #92, which is named "Upper Flats". We had to share the campsite with one other party, but the site was very spacious so we had plenty of privacy the entire time. After camp was set up and water had been purified, Dani whipped up some freeze dried beef stew for lunch. After lunch Dani took a nap and Josiah and I piddled around. We eventually started a fire to ward off the swarms of bees that were pestering us. Later that evening Dani cooked Spaghetti for dinner. We got to bed at around 10pm. While we were in the tent getting ready for bed, a very large European Hornet started banging itself against the tent. It was crazy. I finally had to kill him just to shut him up. That was probably the biggest hornet I've ever seen in my life. We were all up by 8am and had everything packed up and ready to go by 9:15 or so. The hike back was almost entirely downhill, so we made quick work of it and made it back to the car in about 2 hours. The weather on this trip was really great. It didn't get past the low 70's the entire time and even got down into the 50's at night. The weather made for a very pleasant hike and enjoyable time. Another great trip for the books!

A sectional map showing the route of our hike. Twentymile Trail is just west of Fontana Lake, where many of our previous trips have been centered.
Before hitting the trail, we checked out the bottom of Fontana Dam, where the powerhouse is located.
Fontana Dam from the bottom.
The entrance to the bottom of the dam.
The trail head of Twentymile Trail
Our hike followed Twentymile Creek most of the time.
After a really hard uphill hike, we finally got the peak of the hike where 3 trails intersect. We had taken the Twentymile Trail up to this point and then switched to the Long Hungry Ridge Trail for the rest of the journey to campsite #92.
4.25 miles after we started, we finally made it to campsite #92, which is called "Upper Flats". A very nice (and large) campsite.
Josiah helps Eric stake down the tent.
Eating some delicious beef stew for lunch.
Our campsite.
Josiah chills by the fire.
One of many big frogs that visited our campsite.
Josiah plays down by the creek.
Josiah's getting pretty tired at this point.
Dani looking so cute!
Sunday morning we started the hike back to the car.

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