Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 29-Jun-1993

Date June 29, 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.

6/29/93 – Tue.

17.9 miles to Laurel Creek Shelter — here by 4:00 with Gandalf, and we’re it so far (7:30 PM).

I need to make a correction of last night’s entry. Captain & Jumpy did show up…at 10:30! They apparently did not get out of Pearisburg until 1:00 in the afternoon (reason unknown) and were not in a good mood. They slept through both of their 6:30 alarms and were still sleeping when I headed out, so I have yet to actually meet them. They may show up yet…

I saw a buck & a doe that were even more tame that the ones I saw yesterday. The buck was less than 20′ from me when I walked by, and the doe was less than 15′! And they didn’t move! I tried to make some kind of clucking, comforting noise as I walked by, but I don’t think that had much to do with their not moving. Dr. Doolittle, maybe, but not plain old Gilligan.

I talked to Gandalf (real name: Richard Sturgeon) about teaching & teachers today — tryin gto gain some insight into the field, I guess. He’s got countless stories & also a good understanding of a lot of teaching “philosophy” (e.g. “tracking” of students — good or bad?). He’s apparently a pretty good teacher, too, as regarded by both faculty & students. It looks like I’ll be hiking with him for at least a week or so, and I’m looking forward to it.

Again this morning as I started out from the shelter, I was in kind of a funk, but, by this evening I was much better. I think the longer I spend with Julie, the longer it takes me to adjust to being without her. Gandalf isn’t seeing his fiance for 47 days! By Day 20, a certain amount of routine settles in, i guess. 47 days away from Julie probably would not drive me over the edge, but the prospect of that (i.e., anticipating it were it to happen) just might.

I’m not sure I’ve put pen to this thought or not yet: one of the things that makes a hike in the woods so awesome is nature’s palette. It is like she bought a bunch of greens & browns wholesale, but had to pay top dollar for all other colors. The result: the flowers are much more valuable and are much more appreciated by the hiker. Take note modern artisits — a little bit of color or two often does more than an array of all colors.

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