Fontana Dam

Just beyond the Great Smoky Mountain's southern border, the trail crossed Fontana Dam, the highest dam in the eastern United States at 480 feet tall. To late season southbounders it symbolizes getting through the frozen Smoky Mountains alive.

I only had one minor injury from the cold. I tucked a hand warmer in my sock, as I've done a few times before when I can't get my feet warm at night. It worked its way up my sock and I woke up with a second-degree burn underneath. What surprises me more than the nasty red blisters cooked onto my ankle, is that I was so exhausted from hiking up snow covered mountains all day that it didn't even wake me up.

And the worst part is, I just realized I'm now a part of that group of idiots that have made it necessary to put warning labels on everything.