Day 18: Nero and a Chess Board at the Hilton

Day #18

Fontana Lodge –> Fontana Hilton Shelter

1.2 miles

165.9 total AT miles

The Fontana Hilton Shelter earns it’s name for the restrooms with running water complete with hot showers. It has a solar charging station to charge small electronics, a large fire area located above the lake, and, thanks to Canuck and me, a chess board on the floor of the shelter.

We left the Fontana lodge late in the day after a harty breakfast and a few more showers. A shuttle drove us to the trailhead where we hiked around the lake for just over a mile before deciding to call it quits for the day.

With the Smokey Mountains ahead, we did not want to rush off late in the day to a campsite we may not be able to sleep at. In the Smokies, we can only sleep in shelter areas and the first one is further than we wished to walk so late in the day. And it’s not like we are in a hurry. If we were, we’d have just driven to Maine!

Canuck and I enjoy chess so we decided to make a board on the floor of the shelter. With charcoal from the fire, we etched and shaded a board. We used flowers for our kings; large rocks for the queens, gravel for pawns, skinny sticks for bishops, nuts for knights, and shells for rooks.

The game got off to a confusing start and I gave up my queen in the first few moves mistaking one of our pieces. Canuck made the same mistake a few moves later, going down a queen as well. We caught on after that though and had an incredible time with our makeshift board. Good times!

We camped behind the shelter and laughed the night away before crawling into our nylon homes. In the morning we head into the Smokies.

A breakfast burrito at the Fontana Lodge. Thanks for treating Bambi!
Ah, the bathroom of the hotel at Fontana Dam. I took three or four showers before leaving this place.
An algae-full pool at Fontana Lodge. It’s the wrong season for a swim.
A bobcat mount in the lodge.
The main area of Fontana Lodge.
Golden Boy at Fontana before hitting the trail.
Flowers in bloom.
A shuttle transported us back to the trailhead. There is duct tape on the shifter…
Exiting the shuttle and preparing to hike on!
Fontana Crossing
Press “0” on the telephone to order a shuttle for $3 to the lodge. How easy is that?
Hiking around Fontana Lake.
We came to the shelter, the “fontana hilton named for the showers and restrooms with running water available here.
Mr. Kool-Aid charging his phone on the solar charger at Fontana Hilton Shelter
The charging ports.
Canuck in his hammock. He’s happier than he looks!
Cannuck beside his hammock.
Savage got a new, larger tent. It’s big enough for two!
Canuck and I made a chess board on the floor of the shelter. Gravel for pawns, flowers for kings, big rocks for queens, sticks for rooks, shells for bishops, and different shells for rooks.
What a game.
Savage making smores.
The view of the lake beside the fire pit.
Cool Dad taking in the view.


The Fontana hilton from the lake side.
Camping behind the Hilton.
We are always laughing out here. Living the greatest moment of our lives over and over again.
I stiched a pin onto my hat. It came with nails intending to be used on a hiking stick.
Mr. Kool-Aid dancing.
A spider in the bathroom.

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