Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 20 Nero from Fontana Marina to Fontana Hilton

From 164.7 to 165.9 or 1.2 miles. Started 2:52 pm and finished at 3:23 pm. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

USPS is the problem today. My priority mail package is showing as delayed with no delivery date. Their ‘ask help’ 1-800 number seems to only be automated. All day yesterday their tracking site showed in transit to destination from Greenville at 8:15 am. Overnight I received two tracking emails. One said the box had departed Greenville for delivery at 7:53 pm yesterday. The second said the box departed Greenville for delivery at 1:12 am this morning. The tracking site shows only the latter departure but now says delayed with no delivery date. 

My conclusion is it sat all day yesterday in Greenville. After my wife called them about 4:00 pm yesterday and they told her it departed at 7:30 (she assumed am yesterday) they put it on the 7:30 pm truck. But the PO here has 1145 to 1545 hours. They couldn’t deliver so back to Greenville it went. Then out again at 1:12 am this morning on another truck. Timing seems bad if they are going thru the local Fontana PO with their limited hours. Will it get here at lunch time?

I have to check out at 1100. Wait for the package (say 1230). Repack into my food bag. Hike 2.2 miles to the trail. Then start on the AT again. 

The options for overnight are the Fontana shelter (1.2 mi), the Birch Spring tent site (7.2 mi) or the Mollies Ridge shelter (14.2 mi). All those miles are uphill. The GSMNP won’t allow camping on the AT any where but their shelters and that one tent site. 

I’ll probably stay at the Fontana ‘Hilton’ shelter and get a fresh start tomorrow. This isn't the way I had imagined my hike of the AT. I am very tired of dawdling off trail, the frustration, and getting ever further behind my planned schedule. 

If the highly efficient and well paid government employees of the USPS cannot get my box to me today I’m feeling like bailing and trying again next year. 

Ok, I checked out of the lodge, they expect mail delivery around noon. 

The USPS saga continues. Their site says delivery tomorrow, two days late for priority mail. But it also said it was received at Robbinsville, 30 minutes away, at 11:15 am this morning. So I called the local Fontana PO. They said if it was at Robbinsville then, it should be getting here about 2:00 pm. So I went and had lunch and I’m waiting in the lobby again. 

The USPS has finally authorized me to continue my hike!  The box came right at 2:00. I stuffed it into my food bag, without the box, and waited for a shuttle to the trail head. 

I finally began today's arduous 1.2 mile hike about 2:52. I actually reached the Fontana Hilton about 3:23. Very nice trail. The Hilton seems over-rated. I was certainly underwhelmed. The only water you can get a bottle under is the shower. All the fountains are turned off. Still, compared to the other shelters I’ve seen, this one is nice. 

My fellow visitor, Freebird, has severe poison ivy and it's making me nervous. 

He said last night 15 were at the Hilton. So far at 5:25 there are only 4 of us. 

Think that is enough for today!  Have a good evening.

Decided to add an extra item.  It began pouring rain about dinner time.  The shelter is at the top of a hill above Fontana Lake.  After the rain stopped, there was a fantastic double rainbow that seem to end at the water straight below us.  The photo doesn't do it justice.

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