March 22, 2000

Fontana, nc 28 Miles "Hiked" Today 162 of 2167 Miles "Hiked" Total ;-)

Fontana Village...err, looks like a parking lot to me - Rob More news from last night - had dinner with Heart Magic, Little Steps, Frog Farmer. All three ladies are 50+ and thru-hiking. Found out Heart Magic is crusading for better treatment of our nation's children. She is hoping to get 5 million Heart Magic stories (stories about and/or by people who have done something for kids and the story of what they did). The reason for the 5 million is that it represents one story for every step it takes to get from Springer Mountain, GA to Katahdin, ME. Her web site is www.heartmagic.org. Check it out.

Late last night my roommate finally showed up. We exchanged stories about bruises, rumors, weather, etc. Turns out that quite a few people have quit already and one guy just disappeared. A tent with his pack and gear (but no food) was found north of Neel's Gap. Ridgerunners watched it for three days and finally took it all. It had is ID, journal, and everything and the journal talked about "Satan is coming..." and the like. Who knows if its true but it makes for a good story.

This morning I got up and packed and waited down at the intersection (of sorts) to hitch a ride. A worker told me she would let me know if anyone was going my way. Luckily after about 10 minutes, a guy stopped and took me all the way to my destination, a roundtrip of about 50 miles, which he wasn't going to do until he picked me up. He said I looked honest and young (he thought I was in college) and that the hiking stick helped, that nobody just messing around carried hiking sticks. His name is Art Lambert and he was on his way to visit family and look for a job on the Cherokee reservation (he is 1/4 Cherokee). He ended up driving me all over the place since the Thru-Hikers Companion was wrong about two possible lodging opportunities. Got to the Fontana Village Resort, hitched another ride to the outfitters, general store, and post office with Jason Rickers and made some calls.

Later, I got picked up by the Hochs of The Hike Inn and spent most of the day off my feet. We (myself and other hikers) were taken into town both at lunch and dinner for food, ATM runs, etc. The Hochs are wonderful, their business handles 1000 thru-hikers yearly, with other hikers and visitors mixed in.

I also got mail today and decided to send myself some of the food I got. I don't want to carry 11 days of food. Thru-hikers call this a "bounce box" because you are "bouncing" it ahead of yourself. This saves weight but does increase cost and time getting the package. In this case, I am sending it to a place I would go anyway. I'm trying to do what I can at this point to make life easier on my leg.


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