Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 02-Aug-1993

Date August 2, 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.

8/2/93 – Mon.

So, here it is, my third volume in my northward trek.

I got a late start this morning from Port Clinton (10:00 AM), but will made it the 15 miles to the Eckville Shelter by 4:30 PM. I got new boots in the mail at Port Clinton and had to stop and moleskin my heels at lunch. I still managed to rub a dime-sized layer of skin off my right heel by the end of the day, so it looks like I will be back to the 2nd skin/moleskin morning ritual for a while.

Julie returned to Akron today, and I don’t expect to see her again before Massachusetts. As always, it was hard to see her go, but I am in much better shape emotionally and psychologically due to her extended stay. I once again think that finishing the A.T. is a reachable goal for me.

They say that one of the keys to happily transitioning to life after the A.T. is to have something to go back to — a job, a hobby, etc. Regardless of what I do or do not figure out/learn about myself on this trip, I know that I have something very special to "go back to," and that is a life with Julie. I had no idea that I would miss her this much. I also had no idea that she would meet up with me as much as she has, ubt I don’t know that I would still be on the trail if she hadn’t.

I spent some time today tossing around some thoughts about the "A.T." play that I mentioned some time ago. As a setting, the trial really lends itself to the stage. I think a conventional staging would work best, with all (or most) of the scenes occurring in various shelters. A couple of benches and a lightweight wall or two could be the whole set, moved around from scene to scene to indicate different shelters. At times, a "special" piece could be added for a scene (e.g., a table, a swing, etc.).

"North" would be stage right, & "South" would be stage left, so that northbounders would always enter from the left and leave to the right and vice versa.

I have yet to settle on characters, although I’ve had a few ideas. "Early Riser" – a man at least in his mid-40s so named because he is on the trail early every morning.

I’m hung up on finding a premise I really like. I thought about the main character being a man, recently widowed, hiking the trail in an attempt to deal with the loss of his wife. I thought about maybe even having his dead wife be another character that he communicated with — either a real ghost or simply a reality in his mind.

I don’t know whether it would be best to have a single main character who interacts with a bunch of other characters, or have a group of characters that run through the whole play. Well, I’ve got plenty more trail time to ponder it!

I’m staying with "Tampa Mike," a lawyer from Florida.

Interesting. This is an entry that I’ve paraphrased without realizing it almost every time I’ve told my "AT story" over the past fifteen years. I set out on the hike to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after college, thinking that I would settle on a career. I made virtually no progress in that regard, but I did figure out that I wanted to marry Julie. I’m still trying to figure out the career thing, but the Julie part has worked out quite nicely!

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