Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 20-May-1993

Date May 20, 2008

This is a 5-month long series of blog posts that are the entries in my journals written on most evenings as I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1993. The journal entry appears first — indented — and then any additional commentary from my 15-years-removed perspective follows.

5/20/93 – Thur.

Tonight, I am at Cold Spring Shelter. I got here about 2:30, but went ahead and stopped so I would not have to sit around Wesser all day tomorrow waiting for Julie (!). Cold Spring Shelter is supposedly the oldest shelter on the A.T. Bearanoid says he thinks it was moved here from somewhere else, but it is hard to imagine how. It is constructed of ten-inch American Chestnut logs, staked together in log cabin fashion. Apparently some imported fungus killed all of the American Chestnuts, so these are the best I will see of that species.

By the way, I read in The Thru-Hiker’s Handbook that Siler’s Bald has been designated a “bald” by the USFS, the ATC, and the NHC (Nantahala Hiking Club), which means that its top gets cleared periodically. That’s why I saw the cut-down trees last night. The book mentioned that people who feel the forests should be left alone oppose the designation. In spite of my experience there, I think I have to agree with this opposing group.

I stopped for about 1 1/2 hours at the Stone Observation Tower on Wayah Bald. Bearanoid, Justin, and Christy all arrived while I was there. Justin & christy are from Michigan (Christy just graduated from U. of M. — Justin is still attending). They caught us at Rainbow Springs, but today was the first that I met them. Christy’s brother (Max Ochoa) graduated Class of ’90 from MIT. He was a social chair at Baker.

Anyway, we could see a lot from Wayah Bald. We found Albert Mtn., Siler Bald, and and Cheoah (sp?) Bald. An older guy (60s?), who is a 2,000 miler and a member of the N.H.C. wandered up while we were there and pointed out a couple of other peaks and said that you could see Blood Mtn. if you knew where to look.

The gang’s all here tonight. Troll, Bearanoid, Bush-wack, Justin, Christy, and myself. The shelter will be crowded. Thankfully, Bush-wack is sleeping under the stars — his snoring is becoming legendary! Apparently he really shook the rafters at the Siler Bald Shelter last night.

I had no sunset & no sunrise on top of Siler Bald. When I got up this morning, my thermometer read between 35 degrees and 40 degrees, which, of course, has to be taken with a grain of salt, but Bush-wack said he heard that it got down below 40 degrees last night, so it may have been fairly accurate.

I asked Bush-wack about the “every day is Sunday out here” comment. He said that he meant it was peaceful and relaxed — more a sleeping late and reading the Sunday paper day than a Friday after work at the bars day. I guess there was more depth there than I had thought.

Tonight is shaping up to be of audio interest. Although Bush-wack is the Kind Snorer, Bearanoid is apparently in close second, and Troll is a somewhat distant third. Christy talks in her sleepd, soundling like a “female Chewebacca” (from Star Wars) according to Bush-wack, and Justin passes gas rather loudly. I slept through BUsh-wack’s snoring once before, but this will be a challenge.

There is a real sense of comradery out here, and it is nice. No tensions have developed as far as I can tell.

Bush-wack has given up on the the Sherpa rice, and he loaded up on “real” food at Rainbow Springs. He said it makes all of the difference in the world as to how he feels.

I really am looking forward to seeing Julie tomorrow. As much as I enjoy the company out here, I miss hers.

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