Georgia to Maine - - Please join me from start (4/1) to finish (8/10) - 132 days!!!!!

Bethlehem, NH
I have completed my thru-hike of the AT from Georgia to Maine; I started 4/1 and completed 8/10/10. I decided to do this thru-hike in memory of my brother Michael and in turn decided to turn it into a fundraiser. All money raised went to the Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country which gives year-round opportunities in sports and recreation to people with physical or developmental disabilities. My wife Pam and I got involved with this program because it allows us to help people with disabilities enjoy the outdoors like we do and my brother Michael did. Michael was born mentally challenged, and he loved to visit us in the North Country of NH and go hiking. He also loved the outdoors and did many other sports. So, to help others do this and other outdoor activities is a TRIBUTE to him, and an HONOR to us. Many of you have helped me along my journey and donated (follow donation link) directly to a secure website. All donations have gone and WILL CONTINUE to go to ASPNC – nonprofit org to help assist others to hike, ski, kayak, snow shoe..etc… Thank you all in advance for your kindness & generosity, Dave & Pam Smith

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday 4/13

Dave has made it to Fontana Dam. He called me while he was sitting on the wall at the reservoir opening his 1st mail package. He was very excited to get letters, phone card, pictures and gifts from home.

Fontana Dam is located in North Carolina. It forms Fontana Lake, 29 miles of beauty on the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Appalachian Trail crosses OVER the Dam as the trail will wind in and out of Tennessee and North Carolina. The Dam is the highest dam in the eastern United States.

The powerhouse contains 3 generating units with a total generating capacity of 225,000 kilowatts. Electricity is generated as water is released through the turbines at Fontana. Additional power is generated as the same water passes through the turbines at 11 downstream dams.

He is staying tonight at the Fontana Hilton…What I says the Hilton!!! I thought you were tenting and staying in shelters. He reassured me that the “Hilton” was in fact a shelter w/double sets of bunks on each side – will sleep 24, a clean, lighted privy (bathroom for those that don’t know) just up the hill off the footpath and hot showers too. Wow, guess it is like the “Hilton” in the hiker world.

He went today and got his permit to be able to enter, hike and stay at the shelters in the Smokey Mountains. He will enter the park on Wednesday morning. Forecast for the next 6 days looks pretty good – high60’s during the day and low 40’s at night. Good hiking weather. Maybe some rain and clouds Friday night and Saturday but other than that it looking good. Well, that is if Weather Underground is correct. He should be able to take some spectacular photos.

He hopes to finish the National Forest in 6 days. It is approx 70 miles long. The Appalachian Trail is fairly remote to most sections of the Smokey Mountain National Park. He won’t actually see a lot of people except for the tourist sections, beginning, Clingman’s Dome and some other spots. He has enough supplies as there are no stores to get him through these sections.

He is psyched and ready to tackle all that the Smokey’s has to offer despite his right knee giving him some trouble. Go get’em!!!

Do you know what lives in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park?
30 different kinds of Salamanders. That is right it is known as the Salamander Capital of the World due to its cool, moist, climate. Black Bears, estimated 1,500 – that is a lot of bears (better hang that food bag and sleep in the shelters PTD (Pony Tail Dave), Birds – over 200 species, Reptiles – over 38 different species, Fish – 58 species, Numerous species of land snails, insects and spiders and that is not to mention the wild boars, deer and other mammals that he could cross paths with.

Dave will encounter the highest elevation on the Appalachian trail and 2nd highest mountain east of the Mississippi river.

Clingman's Dome -Elevation: 6,643' (yes, higher than Mt Washington)

Not sure if he will have cell service in the Smokey’s but he will try to call to give me updates. So, if you don’t see any posts for a little bit don’t be worried. He isn’t going anywhere. :)



  1. Way to go Pony Tail Dave. The name does suit you! Derek and I have been reading all your trail stories and he keeps asking when we are going to camp? Keep up the good work!
    ~Boop and Derek

  2. Withu Inspirit14/4/10

    hiking thru the SMNP seems like it'll be one of the more challenging parts of the trail..sounds like the hikers have their own-on the ground-support network and they'll be there for each other in the isolated portions. safe hiking through the Smokey's..."see ya on the other side"...lots of luv & happy thoughts to ya PTD!!

  3. Tammy Sanders and Paul Griffin15/4/10

    Tom told me about your trip, Paul and I are so jealous!!! We will be following your blog (Thank-you Pam!)and intend on making a donation soon.

    Good Luck!

  4. Anonymous16/4/10

    Don't know how they are holding up, but 25 elk were introduced to the Park in 2002. One of those would certainly be a sight to see.

    Jim Lemire

  5. Anonymous17/4/10

    PTD: Sandy, Paul, Anne & Scott are following your every move and are so proud of you. We'll send you some baby powder for the chafe if you need it. Just holler! Our thoughts are with you.... Love, Us....

  6. Anonymous17/4/10

    keep up the good work Dave we are keeping up with your progress and it looks like your off to a great start, hike safe,
    Cathy and Ron Gendron