Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 14-Jun-1993

Date June 14, 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.

6/14/93 – Mon.

A day of firsts: first day back on the trail, first day hiking with Ron, first day with new boots. And how do I feel? A bit sluggish, actually. It felt kind of odd to get back to the trail today, as though I had been gone for a year rather than five days. The trail is like a river — the hikers move steadily along, and a break from the trail by one person does not still the current. Buck is somewhere beyond Damascus now, and Bearanoid is on his way back to New Hampshire. Even though Ron is with me, I feel strangely alone; this is not the same trail I was hiking just a week ago. Troll is still behind me, but close, as are the Children of the Trail, Parrothead and Station Break, and “Bones” (Shawn). I think I could develop a relationship with Troll similar to the one I had with Bearanoid, but I have not seen him since Wesser (which seems long ago), and he must catch up with me first. I would almost rather try to catch Buck instead. I have a new bit of respect for her. After two weeks off, she could expect to know nobody when she came back, which would be an awfully lonely prospect.

We’re staying tonight at Moreland Gap Shelter after a 13.6 mile day. Bones and Kid Creole just showed up. Shortcut is also here. He is from Akron, OH, but a lot like Bushwack, I’m afraid. Actually, he was the guy who caught a ride with Bushwack from Stecoah Gap to Fontana.

I hate leaving Julie. She cried some last night, and I just about did, too. If I do manage to finish this thru-hike, so help me I will never do anything where I have to be without her for so long again. Ron said today that he had been pressuring Andrea to move down to Dallas ASAP. He said he can’t help but worry that the first time they get to spend more than 72 hours together they’ll discover that they can’t stand each other; it’s a minor concern, but a concern nevertheless. I, on the other hand, have been able to spend so much time with Julie in the past year that this separation is threatening to drive me out of my skull.

The family reunion in Georgia was a blast, as expected. I really enjoy that half of the family — they seem to have discovered the secret to relaxing and unwinding. I really felt at times that no one there had a single care in the world other than milking as much enjoyment out of the reunion as possible. There is something to be said for that.

My pack felt heavy today, which may be due to the food I am carrying, but may also be due to the fact that I was not as rigorous in repacking my pack. My feet seem to be holding up well, but it looks like I’ll need to molefoam the sore spot on my left hip (my right hip is still a bit swollen but does not hurt). It is probably good that I am hiking with Ron, as he will keep me from pushing myself too hard right after the long break.

I’m back on the trail.
How long was I gone?
Forever it seems.
Is something wrong?
Different, I think,

This seems like a good time to cover the “…then what happened…?” with some of the characters to this point, who are also mentioned in this post:

  • Troll — he ultimately had to leave the trail; I did not see him again, although we exchanged a piece of mail or two
  • Bearanoid — for as much as we “clicked” on the trail, our post-trail exchanges got a bit odd; within a year, he had been born again and become a conspiracy theorist; he sent me a book as well as an audio tape that covered all of the ways the freemasons were plotting a New World Order; I let that relationship die rather abruptly
  • Ron — I almost didn’t include the paragraph above…but he’s coming up on his 14th wedding anniversary with Andrea, so I suspect she’ll forgive him his concerns! She did move to Dallas, where they lived when they got married. They moved to Austin when Ron finished dental school, and they now live just west of Austin with their two kids
  • Buck — well…we’re far from done with her in this journal, so we’ll just let her ride for a while…

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