Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 19-Jun-1993

Date June 19, 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.

6/19/93 – Sat.

19+ miles today including one pretty long climb up Whitetop Mtn.! Ron is still holding up well, and we are now exactly three days back of Buck.

The scenery today was great! We had spectacular views from atop Buzzard Rock and some pretty neat walking over several balds. Tomorrow, we’re planning on shotting for 25 miles but possibly cutting it short.

There are a lot of people around this evening, most of them weekenders. The only other people in the shelter, though, are a couple from this area and their six-year-old son Derek. He kind of attached himself to me as soon as we arrived — followed me down when I went to get water, asked me a lot of questions every time I did anything, etc. I couldn’t even go pee behind a tree without going through the inquisition first. Ed & Jane, his parents, were really friendly, too, and it was yet another pleasant night in the shelter. Some people are really opposed to staying in shelters for various reasons. For me, though, the shelter is a means of having social interaction after spending the day lost in my own thoughts. Derek kind of made the evening for me — I like kids in small doses, I think. The idea of trying to take five kids on a week-long hike, as Ron and I discussed today, terrifies me.

“Fighterpilot,” who I have never met but heard a lot about, continues to leave anti-woman comments in the registers. Apparently, he is in the middle of a divorce. He’s a retired Air Force colonel who logs consistent 30-40 mile days. He carries a really light pack and has his girlfriend (???) Kanda (“Trojan”) drop him off every morning at a road crossing, drive to a road crossing 30-40 miles away, and wait for him. Then, they camp either at a campground or stay in a motel. He apparently won’t take any side trails, no matter how short or how good the view. Anyway, th upshot is he depends on this lady to drive him around, and he writes all sorts of amusing anti-female things in shelter registers, which Trojan never gets to read. Some examples:

  • “The difference between a good relationship and a bad relationship is that in a bad relationship marriage is involved.”
  • “If you put the brain of a woman in a duck it would fly backwards and quack itself to death.”
  • “The only good woman is a mute woman.”
  • “A woman is like a do-do bird — she acts stupid without trying.”
  • “After working seven days, God must have been tired when he made women — it shows!”
  • (Response in next entry): “You made a mistake about God working seven days. She worked six and rested on the seventh, but since you’re a man God will forgive you.”

I can’t help but think there are some women northbounders behind us getting more than a little ticked off.

[sappy Julie thoughts…]

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