I felt like I was running all day because I was trying to get to Fontana before the post office closed at 3:45. I was hiking by 8:30 and had Jacob’s Ladder, a very steep section where you go up 600 feet in .6 mile, out of the way by 9:30. From there the elevation change was relatively little up and downs until one more big climb at the end. I was doing okay by noon and thought I could make it to the road into Fontana by 3:30 but was worried I wouldn’t get a hitch immediately and would miss it. I ended up getting to the road at 3:10 and the second car picked me up, a pickup truck with a mountain bike in back and he was going to the post office too. Perfect! So now I have my mandolin back.

As we were pulling into the lot, I heard my name called and it was Stretch. She’d been there doing laundry and came into town from the same point as me so we could hitch back together. We went up to the restaurant and had a quick meal with French and chatted with Violet a bit before heading out. We turned down the shuttle Sparky was in because hitching is easy and free, but all the parking lots were empty at that point and all the VWs there for a convention probably thought we were too muddy for their awesome sedans. So when the shuttle went by again with French, we hopped in.

It was still a little over a mile to the Fontana shelter, called the Hilton because it is so big and has trash cans, toilets, and hot showers available near it. I took it more slowly, strolling to make up for rushing earlier. I had planned on still cooking dinner because my bag is so heavy with 5 days of food in it but the fries and coke I had earlier were filling me up. There was still some trail magic from Keeper and Owf at the shelter so I snacked a bit instead.

There are a ton of people here and a big fire. We are overlooking the lake so it’s beautiful. It seems warmer than it has been, finally. I started the day in cold mist but no rain, but the sun was out by mid morning and then the rest of the day was beautiful. I don’t think I’ll need extra layers tonight. I still have a cold but I’m loaded up with medicine and tissues for the weekend. I get out of breath a little quicker but I still made good time today on my 15.1 miles so I should be fine.

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