Thursday, May 4th

Today was a day of very definite goal -- Fontana Dam. We packed up quickly and ate hurriedly, hiking together. It would be an Ibuprofen Day, as we would be losing 4000 feet of elevation in a little over 3 miles. Unfortunately, I was all out. As Blaze Blind puts it, "I was bummin'". The first few miles were quite difficult, but not as bad as the last 3 miles. Those last 3 miles were ridiculously long. The trail had a surprising amount of uphill for an all-downhill trail. It was poorly- maintained, with trees crisscrossing the trail and branches frequently overhead. Most of our conversation consisted of orders.

WALDO: I'm thinking [puff, puff] cheeseburger.
DAVE: Onions?
WALDO: Is the Pope Catholic?
BOTANY BOY: I'm thinking [huff] chicken.
WALDO: Broiled?
BOTANY BOY: Live, [wheeze] I don't care.

We finally got to the road and collapsed. We waited for about half an hour for a ride, going through all of the stages. First the "Stand With Your Pack to Look Like a Hiker" stage. Then the "Sit On Your Pack to Look Like a Tired Hiker" stage. Then the "Lie on Pack and Wave Thumb Pitifully for Pity" stage. This cycled a few times, and then we had an idea. Hide Tom! We put him behind Dave, and the next car to came by pulled over. We hopped in the back of the pickup and he gave us a ride right to the cafeteria in Fontana. We went in and were informed that they were closed until 5 for dinner. This presented no problem. There was an ice cream store next door.

M.C. BrandyI bought a big ol' chocolate milkshake with nuts, whipped cream, fudge and a cherry. I washed it down with 64 ounces of Tropicana orange juice. We sat out on the front porch in rocking chairs and talked to other hikers. There we found M.C. Brandy (Jim Brandeburg, from Long Island. I've heard a lot about him. He's a guy in his 30s with a goatee, curly hair, and a seemingly permanent grin, quick to laugh and always ready with a line of his own.), Squirrel, Drew, and some day hikers kicking back. Dave and Botany Boy and I left at 5:00 for dinner, which took us something like an hour and a half. I can't say much for the food, but at least it was filling. We left, Botany Boy and Dave splitting off to camp in a tent, and I for the shelter. I got a ride from a cop to the shelter, known locally as the Fontana Hilton.

crag and lizardSunshine The shelter was open on two ends, filled with two levels on either side of it. It's designed to hold 24, and seemed just about to capacity. Fontana Dam is a popular multiple-day break spot for thru- hikers. It was the birthday of one hiker, Sunshine, and she had cake and ice cream for all. I managed to eat blueberry ice cream with my chopsticks, as well as some ramen noodles and mac and cheese for dinner. I spent a while talking to Squirrel, Twinkie the Kid (Neven, a tall, skinny 19- year-old kid with a long ponytail), M.C. Brandy and Crag (Chris Youmatzo, an 18-year-old with red hair and a red beard, known for his pet lizard.) We went to bed a little after dark, filling the shelter like sardines.

Song Stuck in my Head: Nothing, just thoughts of food!
Miles Traveled: 8.7

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