Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 27-May-1993

Date May 27, 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.

5/27/93 – Thur.

Ah, where to begin? I’ll save words and go with a simple list. Today:

  • I saw my first bear and got a couple of good pictures of it
  • I had my longest day yet — 16.9 miles of pretty tough walking
  • I yogied (def. yogi — to get something, usually food, from strangers without asking for it. Some thru-hikers have raised it to an art form) my first item…and it was beer (Bud). Bearanoid and I split it, and it tasted good. Hot Springs here I come.

The Memorial Day crowd has started to arrive, so the shelter (Siler’s Bald) is pretty full.

I caught up with Bearanoid about nine o’clock this morning before he even left Russell Field Shelter. He had stayed there with a “Ridge Runner.” He hikes back and forth through the Smokies, checks on shelters, and helps hikers out. He gets paid through the Great Smokes ATC, which gets a lot of its money from the U.S. Govt. taking its money from one pocket and putting it in another.

Bearanoid and I talked about Bushwack a fair amount today, and Bearanoid likes him less than Dad does. We did a fair amount of Bushwack-bashing, and regretted the fact that he has managed to stick with Troll for so long. Bearanoid says he thinks that Troll will leave him behind once his heel fully heals.

Walking with Bearanoid was the opposite of hiking with Strider. I walked with him once before on the last several miles into Wesser. he really moves along, but I only really have to work to keep up with him on the long uphills.

His saying for the day: “If, on the Appalachian Trail, you come to a junction of several trails and don’t know which one to follow, the chances are the A.T. is the one that makes the steepest ascent.”

Tomorrow, we hit Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the A.T. We’re planning on doing some serious yogiing there.

I hope to stick with Bearanoid for a bit, as he keeps a good pace and I enjoy his company. I’ll wind up several days ahead of Christy and Justin, but maybe I’ll catch them again after Fort Benning.

The deer at this shelter are pretty tame — they don’t get startled unless you get within ten feed. Trivia: if you see several deer, go urinate. The deer will fight over who gets to lick it up (they want the salt).

There are three different couples here tonight. I so wish Julie was here, too. I am having the time of my life, but it is time dampened by the lack of her presence. She is in Boston now with her parents, Brett, and Grandma Lyren. I’m sure she wishes she were here as much as I do”

To touch,

To hold,

To kiss.

That is what I desire.

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