Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 28-Jun-1993

Date June 28, 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.

6/28/93 – Mon.

First: last night I (we) stayed at Doc’s Knob Shelter, and I successfully completed my 26.8 mile day today & am staying at Pine Swamp Branch Shelter tonight. I’ve caught up with Gandalf, who is also here tonight, as well as a guy named Matt who is sort of northbound until the end of July. Jack (a.k.a. “Wild-Man Jack,” “The Mushroom Man,” “Rasputin,” or (his “official” name) “The Wayward Traveler”), showed up about 8:45. I haven’t seen him since just outside of Erwin, TN, when I spent some time trying to describe him. I was surprised to have caught him so quickly after the reunion in Georgia. “Captain” and “Jumpy,” whose entries I have been reading, spent an extra day in Pearisburg, so I am now ahead of them yet still have not actually met them.

I was in a kind of funk for most of the day today — a touch of what hikers refer to as the “Virginia Blues,” I think. What with Julie leaving this morning and the uncertainty as to whether I would catch up (or be caught by) any of the hikers whose company I have enjoyed so much so far, Maine was starting to seem like a very distant place. The long hike I was facing didn’t help, either. It was almost as though nature were trying to cheer me up, though. I had the experience of unintentionally “chasing” a young bird down teh trail (it couldn’t fly high enough or far enough to do anything but fly down the trail in front of me) while its mother fussed from the sidelines. I also saw three different deer that weren’t bothered enough by my presence to run off — I got within about 30 ft. of all of them as I walked downt he trail. I also flushed six or seven quail, so, nature-wise, it was a pretty good day.

I am still in a bit of a funk, however. My focus is now to get to Harper’s Ferry as fast as is reasonably (I proved today that big mileage does not mean missing out on the nature experience), both so I can see Julie again and so I can possibly hook up with Buck. Gandalf is getting off in Harper’s Ferry, so I’d like to think there is somebody else I like that I might be bumping into occasionally, if not every night.

It’s been a long day, and I want to read a little E.B. White before retiring.

Article idea: Trail names — significance and anecdotes about

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