[at-l] 2011 Appalachian Trail will be 2181 miles, adds 1.9 miles.

hopeful_2003 at comcast.net hopeful_2003 at comcast.net
Thu Dec 16 12:00:21 CST 2010

>2011 Appalachian Trail will be 2181 miles, adds 1.9 miles. 

If the weather cooperates, there will be a new relo between the Fontana Marina and the Hilton by next hiking season. Actually, the new relo will diverge off trail east about 100 yards from the marina parking lot. It will connect with the current trail right at the boundary of the Forest Service land and the TVA land which is about 100 yards trail south of the blue blaze. 

I've seen no official guess-timate about how much will be added but I'm sure it wont be much, maybe a half mile tops. I walked the flag line and the new route will be beautiful. It keeps to the lake's edge (trail east) and follows a contour well about high pool level. All the PUDs will be removed by side-hilling. 

If the Hilton was a great spot before, I think it will be all the nicer now, especially if you arrive towards evening and get to see the mists rising off the water. There are resident loons on the lake now and in my view that adds all the more value to this shelter. TVA moved hot water shower up to the restrooms on the blue blaze. The Fontana Village is under different management from the group operating it back in 2003. When I went to get updates for the Companion, those folks were so nice. The on site manager expressed their desire to attract hikers. 

Some of the improvements that I notice over 2003 were at the little camp store. They now have repair items for gear, enough food selection to get a hiker through the Smokeys, all types of fuel including Coleman and alcohol by the ounce and the canisters for the propane stoves, no espite tabs, however. There is an arrangement with the post office to help hikers. The PO is closed on Saturdays, but an employee is on hand a few hours in the morning, 10-12, I think. They will answer a knock on the door to disburse mail and packages (tell'um Hopeful sent you). 

Tell anybody you know who plans to hike next spring to bring warm stuff. We are having a colder than normal fall and if this continues the winter may be bitter like it was in 2010. We had snow in the valleys as far south as the Chattanooga area already. It wasn't much but this hasn't happened in decades. Honestly, I don't remember snow ever coming in early December in Harrison.   Hopeful
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