We slept well until morning.  A thick dew had set over night and we awoke to the dripping of condensation that had built over our tents.  We quickly packed up and headed to the bathhouse porch, where we had enjoyed dinner the night before, and waited for the Fontana Village van to arrive and take us to the resort. 

Since it was only 9:30am, our cabin was not ready, so we washed up in the restroom and headed to the restaurant for an all-you-can-eat breakfast.  Wow, there is nothing like a hot breakfast consisting of real food in the morning.  I guess it is the little things that we take for granted when we are at home.  

Everyone ate to their heart and stomachs content.  Then we headed down to the village general store to check out their selection of food.  We decided that it would be best to just buy groceries for dinner and breakfast the next day.  

About 2pm our cabin was ready, so we headed back to the front desk area to collect our keys and myriad of packages.  The looks we get when picking up our boxes are so comical. Why? Because as thru hikers we have to carry everything on our backs, and when the packages are so numerous and heavy people cannot wrap their minds around the scene.

Anyway, we discovered that our room was about three-quarters of a mile up hill.  Not a big deal when carrying your packs on your back, but we also had six boxes to carry.  We rented a golf cart to transport all of our gear and boxes up to the cabin. 

The poor cart was LOADED down!  It whined as it made its way up the hill, but it made it, and we were “home” at last. 

First things first, unpack those goodie boxes… especially the one from our friends in Minnesota, the Prigge Family!  Inside contained the essentials necessary to start cycling through showers, and doing laundry to wash away the funk of the trail.  It is amazing how quickly our freshness fades in the warm woods, sweat and dirt accumulate at an unfathomable rate. 

Along with the essentials for cleanliness were packed delicious snacks.  Fresh oranges from Florida, courtesy of the Twardosky Family, and more treats from the Kelly family kept us more than satisfied.  We shared the extras with other hungry hikers.

We relaxed, slept, showered and laundered away the dirt and grime.  We also decided that this would be one of the last times that we made a reservation to stay somewhere like this.  The ability to take showers and do laundry are paramount to these days off the trail, and for those things we are grateful, but we really had set our expectations high.  We imagined this restful day at a resort like area.  It was a lot of work to walk up and down hill, a mile and a half each way.  It was an expense that we could have avoided if we had simply chosen to stop, pick up boxes, do laundry at the laundry mat, and head to the Fontana Dam Shelter, to take a warm shower.  SO, with that we have decided that our down days from now on, unless we are in threat of life and limb because of weather, we will just hunker down in our tents for the night.  Lessons we are learning as we meander through this journey. 

We were very thankful that we had heeded warning that the General Store was very expensive (it was insanely expensive), and shipped food to ourselves for resupply before heading into the Smokies. 

The kids played some basketball, were able to catch up with their friends, and play a new favorite game, sent to them by the Kelly Family, called Spot It!

Dinner was cheeseburgers and mac-n-cheese… and ORANGES, followed by dessert of chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, and rice crispy treats made with fruity pebbles.  

After much determination, momma finally was able to fill the whirlpool tub with enough hot water to enjoy a soothing bubble bath.  Then we fell into a deep sleep!

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