Tuesday, May 18, 2010
We arrive at Fontana Lake around 11:30 in the morning. We not only have the rest of the day for rest and relaxation, but we also have something that few hikers, whether they are through-hikers or section-hikers, have at their disposal: a car.
There is a separate restroom building with flush toilets and a single shower stall located a couple hundred steps from the shelter. We avail ourselves of the showers, put all wet clothes out to dry, and get fresh, clean clothes on.
There are sights to see here. There is a visitor’s center at the dam, about a quarter mile away, and a second restroom/shower room facility. It is a great deal cleaner than the one by the hiker’s shelter.
The shelter has a large sign on the side pronouncing itself the “Fontana Hilton.” And indeed, compared to some shelters, it is a Hilton. But alas, ultimately, it is still a shelter.
We get in the car and drive back to the NOC for a sit-down, restaurant lunch. Ahh… it’s something like cheating. Since I’m not a tomato eater and neither is Teen Daughter, we slide the tomato pieces off our salads. Teen Daughter has an idea, let’s ask for a little container and take the tomatoes back with us to give to Spoon.
As people gather for the evening at the Fontana Hilton, a party atmosphere arises. Teen daughter tells me that two hikes are up at the picnic area and that they have caught two catfish with their bare hands. The story sounds, uh, fishy. But upon going to the picnic area, sure enough, there are two sizable catfish, waiting to be cleaned and fried. A fire has been started and the work commences.
Waiting for the fish fry, a bearded man with a trail name self-assigned and way too complicated to remember, strikes up conversation with me. I don’t remember his trail name, but to me he is Conversant. Conversant is a man of many opinions. He also is the one I heard of earlier who is hiking with his eight year old son. While speaking with Conversant, the fish has finished frying and Teen Daughter offers me a piece. I decline. She has some and declares it delicious. Then I hear the rest of the story. It seems while at the marina, the two young men who caught the fish with their bare hands had actually found the fish in a little holding cage. And indeed, they reached in and caught the fish with their bare hands. Now I think of them as Pilfer and Swipe.
And finally at the shelter, Teen Daughter presents Spoon with a to-go cup of diced tomatoes. He looks at it and consumes them gladly. And then pronounces that Teen Daughter’s trail name from hence forward shall be Tomato.