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Former Admin
10-19-2002, 12:29
Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Watauga Lake Shelter

Past/Present hikers - what can future hikers expect here? Have any good stories or memories from here?

Future hikers - any questions?

chris
10-21-2002, 12:11
Although there is no privy here, there is a "porta privy". That is, a fine plastic lawn chair with a hole cut out of the seat. I took it for three (yes, 3) rides when I passed through in May.

Panama Red
12-18-2004, 17:06
If my memory serves me correctly there is a privy close by on the road by a picnic area when i last passed through there it was locked but i believe i was no further than .25 miles south on the trail you cant miss it if im correct

orangebug
12-18-2004, 17:09
I saw no privy at Watauga Lake Shelter last month. There is a Porta-John on the north end of the Watauga Lake Dam. IIRC, that was the only privy in Tennessee of any sort. I heard from Bob Peoples that there is work toward a privy at Roan High Bluff Shelter.

rocket04
12-18-2004, 18:12
Well, the nice thing is that you'd be near Watauga Lake, and more specifically the swinging ropes which are a ton of fun. Highly recommended to swing away for at least an hour!

Tractor
12-18-2004, 19:47
We were there, early August. We passed and went up to Vandeventer (spelling?) to get away from the nearby crowds. Just about can't miss it though. It's just away from lake side. There was a ton of trash either side of the shelter when we went through. Lot's of deck chairs, blankets, plastic bits, styrofoam coolers, bottles, etc..... Tire tracks came pretty close to the shelter but they were not on any road or "approved path". Did see one of the rope swings but it was in heavy use when I hiked by. Other spots, near the lake, were clean and well kept. The shelter area, itself, was not as bad as some of the surrounding "camp" spots.

Lone Wolf
02-25-2005, 20:16
Was at the Watauga shelter today and the sign leading to it stated "Remove or burn litter". I guess pack it in/pack it out isn't Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club policy. Makes for nasty fire pits. Oh well. Shelters and thier surrounding areas suck anyway.

The Weasel
02-25-2005, 21:34
Mice. Lotsa mice. Hungry mice.

The Weasel

neo
02-25-2005, 21:59
i stayed there in dec 2001 when i section hiked between hwy19E and damascus
va. nice shelter:sun neo

A-Train
02-25-2005, 22:35
If you stay here, its sets up a nice little 40 miler into Damascus. Might go for it next time. Just hop on the Tennessee Turnpike

Lone Wolf
02-26-2005, 05:29
I hold the unofficial record for Watauga to Damascus. 11 hours 50 minutes with pack.

kentucky
02-26-2005, 10:22
Well my experience is to go right pass it seeing how every time I have been thrue there I miss it anyway I didnt like the location either believe its very close to the road!kentucky,but maybe Im lost at that retrospect

Rift Zone
03-03-2005, 17:24
Is that rope swing slightly south ot the shelter still there? how is the water level in recent history.


That spot was really cool.


11 hours 50 minutes. Where? From the shelter? After I have my fill of the rope swing.... Your record is in trouble Lone Wolf!

Lone Wolf
03-03-2005, 17:47
I passed by 3 rope swings. All 3 were cut/broke half way up to the limb they were tied on. The lake is way up right now.
Beat the record Rift! :D

Rift Zone
03-03-2005, 18:20
Aw man. Back and forward flips off a rope swing is one of life's greastest pleasures.

From the shelter... No? C'mon man, your record is from where to where?

Lone Wolf
03-03-2005, 19:33
Shelter to the Gazebo in the town park. Full pack. No slack.

Rift Zone
03-03-2005, 20:51
You are a savage!

We shall see if I can step to the great Lone Wolf.

MileMonster
03-03-2005, 21:21
That is gettin' down the Trail.

Rain Man
06-19-2008, 16:33
Last post in this thread was in 2005. Any updates or comments on the Watauga Lake Shelter?

A few WhiteBlazers are talking about a weekend hike from Kincora/Dennis Cove Road up towards Damascus over the 4th of July weekend. Is this shelter a good or bad place to camp at? Does it have water?

Thanks in advance!

Rain:sunMan

.

Tennessee Viking
06-19-2008, 17:34
Last post in this thread was in 2005. Any updates or comments on the Watauga Lake Shelter?

A few WhiteBlazers are talking about a weekend hike from Kincora/Dennis Cove Road up towards Damascus over the 4th of July weekend. Is this shelter a good or bad place to camp at? Does it have water?

Thanks in advance!

Rain:sunMan

.Not a whole lot of camping opportunities right around the shelter. Its on top of a small hill with a small grade back down to the trail.
Just north of 321, there is Fishermans Camp (very large area) just past the the gate and several other little campsites on the lakeside. Then there is a good level area right at the Big Laurel Branch boundary.

Last year it was pretty dry around the lake during the summer. But everything should be back to normal. There is a small spring on the AT right at the blue blaze to the shelter. There is another small branch, Griffth Branch, just south of it. Then you got lake water. Also, if you get off trail after the dam and continue on the Dam Access Road and walk down to the Watagua Dam Visitor Center, you can get tap water. But its a good walk off trail.

Watauga Lake Shelter is one of the nicer USFS shelters. Its small but one of their newer ones. The only problem with the shelter is that it gets a lot of visitation from local fisherman. They base camp out of it and leave lots of trash. If there is someone there thats not a hiker, keep going.

Being 4th of July, you will probably hear lots of lake traffic and fireworks.

Rain Man
06-19-2008, 18:39
Being 4th of July, you will probably hear lots of lake traffic and fireworks.

Thanks, Benjamin, for all the good advice. Now you've got me thinking if there's a good vantage point to watch fireworks!

Rain:sunMan

.

Tennessee Viking
06-19-2008, 19:44
I can't find anything on a formal firework show on the lake. But you know those crazy, drunk boaters.

Tennessee Viking
06-19-2008, 19:55
Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce lists a huge boat show from the dam to Shook Branch. So you will definitely hear people putter their boats along lakeside trail. And then fireworks over around the boat marinas further up the lake on the 3rd and 4th. Then Elizabethton should have their own fireworks at some point, if you can find a vista view from ridgetop.

Talk to Bob when you get to Kincora he might know something for sure.

Jason of the Woods
06-19-2008, 20:12
A few of my friends have told me that the police hide in the woods there. I didn't get to hang with them though.;(

Lone Wolf
06-19-2008, 20:31
A few of my friends have told me that the police hide in the woods there. I didn't get to hang with them though.;(

that sort of paranoia comes with smokin' too much medicine kid

smokymtnsteve
06-19-2008, 20:38
that sort of paranoia comes with smokin' too much medicine kid

all shelters suck

rafe
06-19-2008, 20:38
Yo, wolf, did your speed record include a stop for greazy burgers at McQueens? ;)

Lone Wolf
06-19-2008, 20:44
all shelters suck

and you're brain dead. smoke some more

Lone Wolf
06-19-2008, 20:45
Yo, wolf, did your speed record include a stop for greazy burgers at McQueens? ;)

what speed record? what is mcqueen's?

rafe
06-19-2008, 20:59
what speed record?

the one you bragged about in post #11 of this thread (though that post was 3 years ago... ;))


what is mcqueen's?Some place you took us to, via yellow blaze, south of Damascus. I'm guessing TN Rte. 91, Shady Valley. You, me, Freebird, Indiana Dan.

Lone Wolf
06-19-2008, 21:03
the one you bragged about in post #11 of this thread (though that post was 3 years ago... ;))

Some place you took us to, via yellow blaze, south of Damascus. I'm guessing TN Rte. 91, Shady Valley. You, me, Freebird, Indiana Dan.

oh. OK. nope no stop. straight on thru to damascus in 93. when i was with you i was Fing off :)

rafe
06-19-2008, 21:08
oh. OK. nope no stop. straight on thru to damascus in 93. when i was with you i was Fing off :)

Well, I think we all were. It was contagious. Maybe filter the water next time. ;)

Lone Wolf
06-19-2008, 21:09
Well, I think we all were. ;) It was contagious.

was the only way to hike. carefree

fiddlehead
06-19-2008, 21:34
I spent the night at the shelter and did the speed thing to Damascus the next day. That was in '95 and my memory isn't the greatest but i believe i did it in around 13 hours so you have me beat LW. (my pack was bigger though)
But my best recollection from that particular shelter was that it was where i first met Allen Stibora who now lives in NM near the CDT and has helped me IMMENSELY on my 2 thru's out there.
He is a great trail angel and did so much for us.
(However, he kept me up most of the night at Watuaga with his snoring)

hammock engineer
06-19-2008, 21:36
Yeah, can't say I did the speed thing. Southbound last year we stayed there on our third night out of Damascus. Can't say we were in a hurry.

Lone Wolf
06-19-2008, 21:43
Yeah, can't say I did the speed thing. Southbound last year we stayed there on our third night out of Damascus. Can't say we were in a hurry.

nope. you boys was in no hurry :)

CaseyB
06-20-2008, 08:47
When I went through there a few weeks ago some kind of crazy locust/cicada (sp?) was making way too much noise.

Jason of the Woods
06-20-2008, 08:58
No he gave like ten of them $300 tickets. I'm just saying beware!
that sort of paranoia comes with smokin' too much medicine kid

hammock engineer
06-20-2008, 10:04
When I went through there a few weeks ago some kind of crazy locust/cicada (sp?) was making way too much noise.

You should come up to my area of the country. This summer is one of their big coming out years. They are everywhere and making a ton of noise.

dmax
06-20-2008, 10:19
I camped on the big island Memorial day weekend. The locust were just coming out of their holes in the ground. We got a 16 year old nephew to eat one for 5$. The next morning anouther nephew wanted to make some money. He was only 5, and was willing to do it for 4$. They tried to get me to do it, but nobody had that much money. I didn't spend my money that way. There is a pizza place that will deliver pizza to the boat ramps at the lake. Now thats ruffing it!

turtle fast
06-20-2008, 11:26
The shelter IS NOT ON THE LAKE!!!!!! The companion said "on the bank of the lake" not to mention its not really on the shore...but up aways into the forest, not on the shore with a lake view. Better to camp at a spot before the trail heads inland for the shelter that is on the shore had rudimentary sign -----camp. Nice spot overlooking the lake as of two weeks ago.

Tennessee Viking
06-20-2008, 13:36
Its not that far from lakeside. Plus my club is laying out new relocations south of the shelter from Fishermans Camp to stay more lakeside until the shelter.

neo
06-20-2008, 14:23
Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Watauga Lake Shelter

Past/Present hikers - what can future hikers expect here? Have any good stories or memories from here?

Future hikers - any questions?


i stayed there in december 2001,i was all alone:),good experence:cool:neo

neo
06-20-2008, 14:25
all shelters suck


thats why i carry my hammock and tarp,i dont like shelters either:cool:neo

Rain Man
06-20-2008, 14:31
Its not that far from lakeside. Plus my club is laying out new relocations south of the shelter from Fishermans Camp to stay more lakeside until the shelter.

Benjamin, I'm losing my mind. Did you say you were coming on our hike? It would be great, as you know the area and trail!

But if not, would you be available to shuttle us from Hwy 91 back to Kincora? We haven't finalized any plans yet, but might need that.

Rain:sunMan

.

Tennessee Viking
06-20-2008, 23:27
Thanks for the offer Rainman, but I can't do any more sections until I can get some lighter gear. I am packing way too heavy. Most of my pack is general retail heavy. Plus I am wanting time and a half for the 4th.

But throw Possum Bill feedback on the climb up to Pond Flats, he is the in charge keeping it clear.

Are you and your party getting off at 91 instead of heading into Damacus? Or you just dropping a car off?

What day do you think you will be hitting 91, I will need to check my schedule, but I am just 40 minutes away. Just PM me your schedule. Also check with Mtn Squid if he is available since he lives nearby. And Bob loves to give people rides.

Rain Man
06-21-2008, 10:16
Thanks for the offer Rainman, ...

Are you and your party getting off at 91 instead of heading into Damacus? Or you just dropping a car off?

What day do you think you will be hitting 91, I will need to check my schedule, but I am just 40 minutes away....

Thanks. Just so you know, there is a "rainman" on WhiteBlaze, but that isn't me. I wuz here first! LOL I am the "Rain Man" with two words. He puts them together as one. I'm not fussing, just letting you know in case you try to PM. It'll go to the wrong one.

Some of our group is getting off the trail at Hwy 91 on Sunday, yes. The rest of the group is continuing on up to Damascus. So, we are needing to arrange two shuttles. Personally, I'd like to get our vehicle shuttled to the Hwy 91 trailhead on Sunday, so that it doesn't really matter what time we come out of the woods. Does that sound do-able?

Rain:sunMan

.

smokymtnsteve
06-24-2008, 17:47
thats why i carry my hammock and tarp,i dont like shelters either:cool:neo


yea and LW always says ALL SHELTERS SUCK!

he must be brain dead too.

prooly all that OLE DEMON ALKYHOL!

good to see you NEO!

Lone Wolf
06-24-2008, 18:59
yea and LW always says ALL SHELTERS SUCK!

he must be brain dead too.

prooly all that OLE DEMON ALKYHOL!

good to see you NEO!

pork yourself stoner

Bearpaw88
06-24-2008, 19:00
Last post in this thread was in 2005. Any updates or comments on the Watauga Lake Shelter?

A few WhiteBlazers are talking about a weekend hike from Kincora/Dennis Cove Road up towards Damascus over the 4th of July weekend. Is this shelter a good or bad place to camp at? Does it have water?

Thanks in advance!

Rain:sunMan

.

I'd recommend camping right on the lake before the shelter and skipping it all together. Shelters do suck anyway. We stayed on the lake for 2 zero days swimming, relaxing, and eating hot dogs because it was such a great place. Our sign might still be there "Camp Delay"

Berserker
01-13-2009, 15:49
Watauga Lake Shelter is one of the nicer USFS shelters. Its small but one of their newer ones. The only problem with the shelter is that it gets a lot of visitation from local fisherman. They base camp out of it and leave lots of trash.

I'd like to add to that list of items left the enormous turd I stepped in when I was there last Sunday night. It's directly behind the shelter right in the middle of the beginning of a little path that goes up the hill. I'd like to smack the turd that left that turd. Get a freakin trowel and bury it like everyone else.

Sorry...just venting a little there. Anyway, you should be able to spot it cause it has a huge boot print right in the middle of it. It was dark when it happened by the way, and thus why I didn't see it.

fehchet
01-13-2009, 16:47
Yes it is a nice shelter but too close to civilization.
There is the 50 mile challenge from Kincora to Dot's before it closes. One needs to get up early and taste the beer in your mind.
Also, if you have ever hiked with Lone Wolf, you discover he trots and disappears in the distance only to be found again at the end of the day with his tent all set up and maybe a pile of wood all ready gathered -- depends. Lots of fun.

Mr HaHa
01-13-2009, 17:03
On the trail just south of the shelter it looked like the good folks who use the lake were well on there way to creating Tennesee's newest landfill. About the only form of garbage I did'nt see was an actual garbage truck. Must have dumped its load prior to my arrival.

Lilred
01-13-2009, 17:10
Wautaga lake shelter is at mile marker 420. Better known as the 420 shelter ;)

ChinMusic
01-13-2009, 17:20
I actually stayed at Watauga Shelter on 1/3. Only the second shelter I have ever slept in. I arrived around dark and didn't see any good flat spots for my tent so I "slummed it". I didn't know until the next morning that a great campsite was only about a 1/2 mile to the south.

Berserker - when you stayed at Watauga Shelter, was there a guy still "living" there (short hair, cammo pack, large knife)?

Sly
01-13-2009, 17:41
Wautaga lake shelter is at mile marker 420. Better known as the 420 shelter

Your post was 10 minutes early. ;)

Berserker
01-13-2009, 17:43
Berserker - when you stayed at Watauga Shelter, was there a guy still "living" there (short hair, cammo pack, large knife)?

Naw, it was empty...just me and my hiking bud. I tented and he slept in the shelter. I did meet a quite fellow with short dark hair wearing a camo coat with a camo pack at Laurel Fork Shelter on 1/11. He had a knife, but it wasn't that big (fixed blade with maybe a 4 - 6" blade). Not sure if this is the guy you speak of.

I didn't really comment on the shelter in my last post. All turds aside, it wasn't too bad. There's no real good tenting area, but after going over Pond Mtn I didn't really care. Man, did they get the guy that blazed the trails in Linville Gorge (NC) to come in to do the upper half of Pond Mtn going NOBO. That climb was freakin heinous.

At any rate, decent smaller shelter with water source close by. There was some trash in the fire pit, but overall the area wasn't too badly trashed based on what I read earlier in this thread.

ChinMusic
01-13-2009, 18:22
I did meet a quite fellow with short dark hair wearing a camo coat with a camo pack at Laurel Fork Shelter on 1/11. He had a knife, but it wasn't that big (fixed blade with maybe a 4 - 6" blade). Not sure if this is the guy you speak of.

That sounds like him. We had two groups going from Kincora to Damascus, hiking in opposite directions. The guy was at Watauga Shelter on Jan 1, 2, and 3 for sure. Says he's "hiking to Springer". Since he's made it a whole whopping 4 miles (I'm sure he blue blazed Pond as he was asking about it), he certainly ain't in no hurry.....lol


I didn't really comment on the shelter in my last post. All turds aside, it wasn't too bad. There's no real good tenting area, but after going over Pond Mtn I didn't really care. Man, did they get the guy that blazed the trails in Linville Gorge (NC) to come in to do the upper half of Pond Mtn going NOBO. That climb was freakin heinous.

The area north of Watauga Shelter and the south side of Pond will have relocates in the future. Did you see the orange tape?

Delirious Nomad
01-13-2009, 18:23
Yeah - being the one who stayed in the shelter, I can say that the shelter itself was clean, and AFAIK there were no mouse visitations. I had a good night sleeping in there!

There was a bunch of trash in the fire pit which we cleaned up and put in a plastic bag. It was too much to pack out, so we left it hanging.

The best feature was not having to trek to get water as is the case with many of he other shelters in TN, like Vandeventer and Moreland Gap, etc.

Lilred
01-13-2009, 19:57
your Post Was 10 Minutes Early. ;)

Hah!! :)

Rockhound
01-13-2009, 20:45
What was Lonewolf doing at a shelter? :-?

Dogwood
01-13-2009, 21:24
I remember thinking, "ah, Wautauga Lake Shelter, must be a beautiful shelter on the lake." I pictured it in my head all day long. Taking a short walk down to the lake from the shelter to take a well earned swim after a long sweaty summer day of hiking. Sitting down by the lake eating my dinner in peace and quiet while watching the sunset shimmering across the water. But, when I got there NO LAKE! Just a full house and a fire ring full of someone's left behind spaghetti and charred beer cans. Still, I was grateful. I got there just in time to snag the last spot in the shelter before the skies were about to open the floodgates in a torrential summer downpour.

There was this New Hampshire couple on a short section hike who were in this long debate whether or not to put up their tent. They, I mean she, went on and on complaining about how dirty everything was, that she saw toilet paper in the woods, and how crowded it was. She was particularly fearful of all the woodland creatures that could harm her. The bears would attack her. I heard her whisper to her husband, "I have my period. They will go after me." The rattlesnakes and copperheads were going to slither into her sleeping bag and bite her. The porcupines would inject her with poisonous barbs. The black widows and brown recleses woud kill her. The skunks would spray her. And, most of all, she was deathly afraid(hardcore phobia) that the mice and rats, which of course someone said they saw scurrying on the ground near where she was going to sleep, would transmit the dreaded hunta virus to her. She was really afraid of them. After much debate they decided to sleep cowboy style outside on the ground. I told them, "that's not a good idea. It's going to rain heavily very shortly." Another debate ensued on whether or not it was going to rain. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. At that point if I had a gun I might have been forced to use it. Finally, several other hikers had enough. They packed up their gear and left as the first raindrops fell. As it started to rain harder and harder the couple couldn't put up their now muddy tent fast enough. Into the shelter they came. UGH! All night long she complained nonstop. And, as luck would have it, she slept next to me. Well, not really sleep. She nervously twitched and snored all night long. Just as everyone in the shelter would start to doze off again she would wake up complaining about some bug she imagined was crawling on her. Finally, about 3:00 A.M. I, as well as everyone else, had enough. As she mumbled, snored, and twitched away I plucked a piece of down from my sleeping bag and ran it across her lips. She woke up screaming. Just then, I said, "did U see it, did U see it, a mouse just ran across your face."

The next day I realized if I was ever going to stay in another AT shelter I had to have ear plugs! Let it be a lesson to all U newbies!

Berserker
01-14-2009, 13:21
That sounds like him. We had two groups going from Kincora to Damascus, hiking in opposite directions. The guy was at Watauga Shelter on Jan 1, 2, and 3 for sure. Says he's "hiking to Springer". Since he's made it a whole whopping 4 miles (I'm sure he blue blazed Pond as he was asking about it), he certainly ain't in no hurry.....lol
Yeah, that was definitely that same guy. I had my date wrong, I saw him on 1/10 at Laurel Fork. Iím guessing he stayed at Laurel Fork at least through 1/11 though cause it was raining.


The area north of Watauga Shelter and the south side of Pond will have relocates in the future. Did you see the orange tape?
I do remember seeing some orange tape, butI donít remember exactly where as I was going up Pond Mtn. All I can recollect is how stinkin steep the climbing got near the top. The worst part was the 50 Ė 100í before reaching Horse Ridge Gap, and then finding out there was more climibing after going through the gap. It would be nice to see some switchbacks up there instead of the direct route straight up the side.

dmax
01-14-2009, 17:25
It would be hard to put a shelter any closer to this lake. There are too many boater/campers on this lake. There is also alot of roads close to the trail. This is non experienced primative campers with no idea of lnt. I visit this lake quite frequently and never saw a fisherman staying at the shelter. Not to say that some haven't.

If I camp by the shelter, I stay on the AT going north. Right before the trail goes uphill, I head to the right and take a small trail to the lake. This is where I'll usually camp in this area, But its not right by the shelter, but by the lake.
The fisherman camp before the shelter works too. I found an alcohol stove up on the hill right after the fisherman camp about a month or so ago.
Heading north on the AT past the shelter there is a good spot to pitch a tent if the water isn't too high. Right before you get to the dam and the paved walk, there is a spot on the left thats perfect. Most of the boaters on the lake don't know about this one. It will hold atleast two tents. Its a good place to soak the feet or go swimming, although I don't swim in this lake. There are a lot of currents that will suck you under. We were water sking on day out there and the water suck my brother in low under and he was wearing a life jacket. He popped up a couple of seconds later. Good thing he had a lifejacket.

dmax
01-14-2009, 17:27
I meant to say the trash is usually left by the campers...locals...

showcase
01-15-2009, 13:37
anyone kno how far it is from the watauga lake shelter to an area where someone could drive to pick someone up, just a good day hike like 10-15 miles???? thanks for the help

ChinMusic
01-15-2009, 13:43
anyone kno how far it is from the watauga lake shelter to an area where someone could drive to pick someone up, just a good day hike like 10-15 miles???? thanks for the help
You could SOBO from Watauga Shelter, hike the 1+ miles to 321, do Pond Mt, do Laurel Falls, and get picked up at Dennis Cove Road. That is about 10 miles all on the AT.

Gaiter
01-15-2009, 13:44
on the southern side of the lake is a rd, correct me if i'm wrong, but i want to say its 316 and a good hike would be from dennis cove rd to there, and if you wanna go a little furhter hike to the shelter.... well actually i slackpacked it while staying at kincora, bob recommends going over pond mtn sobo, and at the end of the day just before you get to dennis cove rd, you can take a dip in the falls there.

Gaiter
01-15-2009, 13:44
oops yeah 321

Lilred
01-15-2009, 18:45
on the southern side of the lake is a rd, correct me if i'm wrong, but i want to say its 316 and a good hike would be from dennis cove rd to there, and if you wanna go a little furhter hike to the shelter.... well actually i slackpacked it while staying at kincora, bob recommends going over pond mtn sobo, and at the end of the day just before you get to dennis cove rd, you can take a dip in the falls there.

That was a great day.

Ground Control
08-19-2012, 21:07
Some updated info from this past week:

-This shelter currently has a nice tarp to help prevent the smoke from the ill-placed fire-pit. (the Vanderventer Shelter 7 miles to the north has the same smoke problem with no tarp.) The walk from the north is quite scarce for water; most of the NOBO hikers we met between there and Double Springs were concerned about water.

-We chose not to stay in this shelter for a few reasons. One of which was the fact that it is a good half mile from any water-level access. The second is that the rustling form underneath the shelter in the afternoon let us know it was actively infested with mice; lots of food wrappers underneath the shelter. There was also some LARGE rustling coming from downhill and across the spring, just beyond the well-worn bear pole.

-Another parking consideration for hiking this area would be Wilbur Dam Rd. just 4.3 miles north of Hwy 321 and 2.5 miles north of the Watauga Lake Shelter. A considerable drawback is that the last bit of downhill to the lake is along an old paved road and lands you right on the dam. The level of unnaturalness is kind of a downer.

-Lots of day hikers, boaters and genuine traffic at our campsite on the lake. More than one person seemed to "check-in" on us via kayak, pontoon, or trail. (two claimed to be nearby homeowners.) Good on them, though; kind & friendly folks enjoying the beautiful August weather.

....Great hike! I think I have the fever; got my list out and looking for ways to drop weight.

Lyle
08-19-2012, 22:53
Spent the night there last summer with a couple of guys I was hiking with and a large group of scouts and their leaders. At first thought it would be a miserable, rainy, crowded night, but was wrong. Yes there were a lot of people there, but the Scout group was operating as a Scout group should. The leaders told the Scouts what they needed to do, and, for the most part, the Scouts did it without complaint or drama.

Was particularly impressed when all the adult leaders turned in to their tents in the evening, just a bit before dark, and left most of the boys hanging out around the fire. Their last instruction was " Be respectful of the other hikers (us)". The boys stayed up, talking, joking, and laughing at a reasonable level for about a half hour, or about 15 minutes after dark. Then, one of the older scouts said "OK guys, time for bed". Within about 5 minutes, the fire was out, and all the scouts had scattered to their tents, and were just very quietly talking to their tent mates, 15 minutes later, not a sound could be heard. Very impressive for a large group of adolescent boys ranging in age from about 12 to about 17. Next morning was just as impressive, with some of the stronger boys voluntarily taking some extra weight from the ones that had had difficulties the previous day. They were heading up over Pond Flats, so had a pretty decent hike ahead of them. Gave both the leaders and boys kudos for their attitudes and consideration of each other and us. Turned out to be a very pleasant evening with that large group.

1peanut
08-20-2012, 08:10
Hike through that area last spring. Between the recreation area and the shelter there was some pretty creepy looking people that had there tents set up along the trail. We just kept moving and didn't go up to the shelter.