A dreaded hike to say the least, but one that needed to be done...a 37 mile march in the 90+ degree heat of summer at the lowest elevations along Lakeshore.  Fontana to "The Tunnel" with stops at every creek crossing and swimming hole in order to cool off.
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One of many car's left to nature within the first few miles east of Fontana Dam, some beside the old road, others smashed into trees, some on their backs in the valley below.
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The early morning light beginning to shine down on the mouth of Eagle Creek.
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The emerald waters where Hazel Creek empties into Fontana Lake.
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Shades of blue from sea to sky as seen from the Ollie Cove trailhead at water's edge.

The rest of the day was spent not taking pictures but rather surviving the brutal heat of the day and finding reprieve the few times the trail crossed creeks or skirted the shoreline.
 
Continuing the streak of fabulous firetower hikes, this time up and over Shuckstack toward Doe Knob and accompanied by Bonnie; thus, completing the 72.6 miles of Appalachian Trail in the Smokies. 
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Ketchup and Mustard were seen all the way up from Fontana.
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Even inside the firetower, the chilling winds found their way in...Exhibit A: Bonnie.
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Upon leaving the tower for the first time, a few deer pass underneath.
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Ta da!!! Reaching the AT junction at Doe Knob having hiked all of the AT within the Smokies!  Thanks Bonnie for taking the pic!
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Imagine hearing the crunching of leaves underfoot, then the rattles of a 3 foot long Timber Rattlesnake.  Luckily, a few yards off the trail and not interested in us, but we wisely chose not to linger and warned hikers heading that direction.
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Our second visit to the firetower proved gratifying, as views over Lake Fontana were much clearer and the waters sparkling.