View Full Version : Fontana---->Wesser
Soon to do the Fontana to Wesser section, any clues, hints, warnings, wonders about this section?
The water source at Stecoah Gap was hard to find and wasn't marked when we hiked through there. When you come to the Highway at Stecoah Gap, (there are AT metal signs which tell you this is Stecoah Gap) there will be a small picnic area just across the road. If you are going south, which you are if you start at Fontana, the water source is to the right. Follow the highway west about 100 yards, just about where the guard rail starts there is an old dirt road that turns off to the left. Seems like the road had a fence across it when we were there. The water source is down that old road about another 50 yards or so. It was the only place we had difficulty finding water between Fontana and Wesser. Once we found the water source there was plenty of water available but there were no signs or blazes indicating where it was and the guide book wasn't clear about it either or at least not to me.
I spent only one night in this section, and that at Brown Fork. Nice shelter, a bit off the trail. The water source is, of course, steeply downhill. I remember the trail being pretty moderate from Brown Fork to Fontana, a wee bit harder from Brown Fork to Wesser. Sassafras Gap shelter is about 6 miles (?) before you get to Wesser, just before you begin the big descent off of Cheoah. Kind of musty when I was there, but a good, close water source and a privy.
The trail may be a bit easier in the direction you are going (I went north), but still rather verticacious. I don't think verticacious is a word, but you probably understand my meaning. This was touted as being one of the hardest sections of trail in the south, but I think the reroutes have made it a bit more moderate. I was working pretty hard then and going over Cheoah and through Stecoah gap was my first 20 mile day on the trail.
Thanks for the remembrances of your time in this section. Today I booked a night at the Village Inn prior to the hike and arranged a shuttle from the same place...now just hoping for some intense winter weather to enhance the experience.....my girlfriend will be joining me on this section so we are doing it in 2 sixteen mile days and staying at the Village Inn for R&R so I am hoping she gets a good experience out of this and wants more! She even bought a treadmill for the event and has spent a lot of time on it in preparation-I told her there is only one way to get ready for the AT and that is do it!
Of course our experience will be posted here upon our return. I probably shouldnt but I am already planning the next section for December, Wesser to Standing Indian I think it is....
I'm assisting a new member (Warpipes) who is having trouble getting logged into the Forum. He'd like to know if anyone has any more recent info on trail conditions between Fontana Dam and Wesser. He'd like to know what kind of shape the shelters are in, water reliability, good campsites in the vicinity of Wayah Gap, and if there was any impact by last weekend's storms.
I haven't been to the area recently, but the Smokys (and so the Nantahala area also) got alot of rain this fall. Creeks and rivers are high and springs are bursting. Even the "unreliable" spring at Newton Bald in the Smokys was running very well.