Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 28-Jul-1993

Date July 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.

7/28/93 – Wed.

Well, so much for skipping one entry. It seems I’ve skipped a whole week. Julie is still with me, after several "last" nights together, several days of slackpacking, her car breaking down, and, now, finally six days of her hiking with me.

For the most part, I have been the cause of all the commotion, as I have seriously been considering getting off the trail. I simply miss Julie too much. I think I have also failed to find anyone else whose company I enjoy as much as Bearanoid’s, and I’m kind of in a vacuum of northbound thru-hikers.

I really lack the urge to write right now, but I felt I needed to make some sort of entry, which I have now done.

I mentioned slackpacking in an earlier entry , and I mentioned it again here. It seems worth defining what that is. Or, at least, how it was used in the 1993 along the AT. Slackpacking meant that you hiked the trail, but without a full backpack. It generally required some level of car-based support, so it was something that I did when Julie was out with me on occasion. I would take a water bottle, lunch, and my hiking stick and head from one road crossing to another. Carrying 5 or 6 pounds instead of 50 increased my pace and decreased the number of breaks required.

I’ve said before that I was a "purist" in that I hiked every step of the trail. I didn’t take any side trail shortcuts, and, if there were two trails into a shelter, I always went in and out on the same one so as to not skip any small sections. When it came to slackpacking, I wasn’t as pure. There were militant purists who considered slackpacking an abomination as well. Not me!

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