Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 07-Jul-1993

Date July 7, 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.

7/7/93 – Wed.

20.2 miles today and am staying at Maupin Field Shelter with “The Three Musketeers,” a father and his two sons from Franconia, NH (aged 11 & 14), who hiked from Franconia to Harper’s Ferry last year (last two years?), are going from Harper’s Ferry to Hot Springs, NC, this year, and are planning on doing the two ends next year. Pretty cool, huh? The father owns a small marina in Boston, so that’s how he has the time, I guess.

A small pre-Cloverdale/Troutville note: just before we got there, we crossed Tinker Creek, which someone (Waterwitch, I think) had noted in a shelter register was the title creek in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which I only managed to read about half of because I liked it so little. But, it was still kind of neat to cross the creek, even if not at the same place that Dillard had so many melodramatically described deep, meaningful experiences.

A note from yesterday: I saw/ate some wild strawberries, which were good but too sparse and close to the ground to eat very many.

I caught up with Streaker, Hooper, T.H. the Lost Boy (T.H. is for “Too Heavy”), and Taku (T.H.’s dog) today at the river, and I should see them again in the Shenandoahs.

Cloud & Scout: Two sisters from New Jersey, aged 24 & 26 (not respectively). They are a riot. They were several days ahead of me, but hav ebeen slackpacking out of Rusty’s while waiting for there maildrop to arrive in Waynesboro. They, too, I should see in the Shenandoahs. We were up talking until 11:30 PM last night, and I still woke up at 6:00 and was on the trail by 7:00, so I still haven’t gotten that good night’s rest. I’m not all that tired, thought, as I took it pretty easy today — lots of breaks and lots of water. Streaker has had a bad experience with dehydration on the trail which I read about in registers but got the more complete story from him today. I am always careful about water, especially with the heat & humidity we have had of late, but his tale made me just that much more cautious.

I met “Flipper” today, too — my second homeless person. He hiked from Massachusetts to D.G. on the A.T. because he had some sort of business there, and enjoyed it so much that he just kept going south. His method of food resupply? Foraging in the wilderness, which is much harder these days than it used to be.

Tomorrow, I hit Waynesboro. I heard from the man from N.H. today that the Comfort Inn is nice and conveniently located, so that is where I’m planning to stay.

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