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Filling in some gaps, with some advice from the Beatles

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Okay, what with the Beatles reference?
Recall that, the last time I hiked in this area, I went to the hills despite a warning about "scattered thunderstorms" -- and had some of the scariest minutes of my life.
This time I went to do some hikes in the area, and, while watching the local weather forecast after a two day drive to the area, got another warning of "scattered thunderstorms."
My response is best summed up in this song:
Plain and simple, I called off an overnight hike due to fear of a repeat. Thus, I planned for some wimpy hikes, and didn't even get those done. But I did get something.

I noted that I had some small gaps in my A.T. miles. Specifically, Burningtown Gap to Rockfish Gap.
Also, I'd like to finish a hike south (ie downhill) from Clingman's Dome in Great Smoky Mountains NP at Fontana Dam instead of the Fontana Marina. I know it's only two miles, but I've found, the hard way, that the last few miles of a multi-day hike are invariably the worst for me. So I'd rather park at Fontana Dam, get a shuttle to the dome, and then hike back to my car.
So how do I handle these minor gaps? I could do them in day trips (ie, hike from Point A to Point B, then back to A; followed by a day hike from Point B to Point C, then back to B; repeat) or hire a shuttle between trail heads that are pretty close.
I originally chose to combine these two modes, but the threats of thunderstorms changed my mind -- it would be all day hikes. Unfortunately, that change meant I couldn't do all the miles I wanted.
So I ended up doing
Fontana Marina -> Fontana Dam
Rockfish Gap -> Siler's Bald
Wayah Gap -> Wayah Bald
Wayah Gap -> Siler's Bald
By getting an early start on each day, I did all of these with (pretty much) no problems in any of them. Getting rained on is, for me at this point, not a problem. And going down the road from Wayah Bald, after having gone up the trail, allowed that day's hike to go much more easily.

Two pieces of advice for future hikers in this area:
1) I chose to stay in Robbinsville (long story) -- I should have stayed in Franklin, as it is much closer to the trail heads.
2) If you DO chose to stay in Robbinsville, and need to get to Franklin, take U.S. 129 to U.S. 74 and then Wayah Road / Highway 1310; but do NOT drive Highway 143 to Highway 28, and the latter to Franklin. Both of these routes go on winding, mountainous roads, but Highway 28 into Franklin is one of the scariest roads I've driven on -- particularly with logging trucks coming towards you!

And for those who want a day hike from Wayah Gap either to Wayah Bald (and the tower) or to Siler Bald, here's info on parking there:

Updated 08-08-2021 at 16:54 by GoldenBear

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