Great Smoky Mountain National Park – Jerry Hollow

August 8-9, 2015

The ecological teaching of the Bible is simply inescapable: God made the world because He wanted it made. He thinks the world is good, and He loves it. It is His world; He has never relinquished title to it. And He has never revoked the conditions, bearing on His gift to us of the use of it; that oblige us to take excellent care of it.

-Wendell Berry

My friend Perry approached me with an idea: explore and camp on Fontana Lake. At first I was reticent, I don’t kayak; I hike. As I pondered the idea, I realized that I was simply unsure of trying something outside my comfort zone.

The plan was simple. Park at Cable Cove and disembark in two kayaks, loaded with gear across Fontana Lake and camp at Jerry Hollow – campsite 87 in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Cable Cove is a pleasant dock with ample parking. I am surely a novice at kayaking, but I was surprised at how fast one can move in relation to hiking. After the cove we veered westward (to the left) onto Fontana Lake. The images were astounding: huge granite rocks, clear water with a greenish hue, and astounding mountain vistas.

I hung closely to the shore then before Hazel Creek I crossed the lake. This is intimidating. There is a fair amount of boat craft traffic on the lake, so I timed it so that I would not be caught in their wake. I then passed two coves to my north. To the south I could see Fontana Marina, inspected my map and saw that Jerry Hollow would be after the next point. Before the island, there is a sign indicating Eagle Creek.

Jerry Hollow is an island with six campsites. Triangular in shape, we were surprised that after docking we had to hike several hundred feet in elevation. There are 3 campsites: one to the west and two at the summit. We camped at the summit with all the comforts of the GSMNP: a fire ring, pine needles littering the forest floor and bear cables.

After making camp we started to fish. In our plans we envisioned smoked trout fish dinner; however dinnertime saw us feasting on zucchini and pasta, with the only fish being the tuna I brought with me. There were two couples camping on the island as well. We ventured to the northern edge and hung out with Erin and Michael for several hours. A great couple from Charlotte; we sat around and discussed an array of topics. With little to know light pollution we gazed to the northern sky over the most remote portion of the Smoky’s. It was awe-inspiring seeing the constellations, shooting stars, satellites, and Milky Way. Such beauty we often forget about in the cities. We are so starved for this in our culture that my mouth dropped open.

The next morning we again tried our hand at fishing, but breakfast was hash browns, eggs and coffee, in lieu of fresh fish. Mid-morning we disembarked the island and went back east to the Cable Cove.

Nestled in the southwestern corner of the Great Smoky National Park is grandeur and beauty; wonderment waiting to be explored.

Total mileage is 6 miles.

Cable Cove boat launch
Cable Cove boat launch
Fontana Lake - Perry
Fontana Lake – Perry
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
sign indicating turn for Jerry Hollow
sign indicating turn for Jerry Hollow
view of Jerry Hollow
view of Jerry Hollow
Jerry Hollow campsite
Jerry Hollow campsite
view from Jerry Hollow
view from Jerry Hollow
Evernew Titanium Pot and MSR Whisperlite International
Evernew Titanium Pot and MSR Whisperlite International
Fontana Lake sunset
Fontana Lake sunset
Fontana Lake sunset
Fontana Lake sunset
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake

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