Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 12-Jun-1993

Date June 12, 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.

6/12/93 – Sat.

I’ve got a new journal, so this entry will be the last one for this, my first.

I just wanted to make a note of a thought I had while talking to Kitty about the appeal of long distance hiking. It came down to this: life becomes as simple as it can possibly be —  everything that I think I need, I have to carry. The result: I begin to think I need less. That is why that, once I come off the trail, I feel mild anxiety when it comes time to do something like, say, go into Sears and get a watch battery replaced. First, it is admitting a dependence on another person, which is not normal on the A.T. (excluding maildrop senders, of course). Second, and most importantly, there is so much activity and so many decisions to be made that it is unsettling. On the trail, there is one path to follow; in Sears, the first thing that happens after entering is the shopper has to decide which of two walkways to follow. There really is a difference.

With that, I conclude the first volume of my journal.

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