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Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 23-Aug-1993

Date August 23, 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.

8/23/93 – Mon.

As I write, I am seated at a picnic table at Mad Tom Shelter, baking a “pesto pizza” on the outback oven. This is meal #2 on the oven, and so far all is going well.

Now, back to yesterday.

Mosquito Lunch (Ben & Betsy) were pretty sore that Buck was planning on staying in the warming hut on top of Stratton Mtn., which would make for a 24-mile day, with a 3 1/2 mile uphill at the end. Ben predicted that we would arrive at 7:00 PM, which we stayed on track for most of the day. The three of us hiked together and talked the whole time, so most of the day passed fairly quickly.

About Mosquito Lunch:

Ben & Betsy are both from Syracuse, NY, and both know Ateev Mehrotra (sp?), a friend of mine from school (he used to live across the street from Ben and play with him daily). they have been dating for the past four years and live together in Pittsburgh, where Betsy is a junior at Pitt and where Ben has held a number of different jobs, his most recent being an auto mechanic. they are both very bright. Ben has pulled a number of “hacks” that would make any MIT hacker proud (he attended R.P.I. for six weeks on scholarship before dropping out). We talked about doing long-distance canoeing and they were both really interested, so who knows what the future may hold with them?

Back to yesterday.

We got to the summit of the mountain only to be told by the GMC (Green Mountain Club) caretaker in residence that the warming hut was 3/4 of a mile “further down the trail,” and taht Buck and “Special K” were indeed there. Now, had we stopped then and looked at the map, read the handbook carefully, and looked in the guidebook, we might have realized that she meant 3/4 of a mile down a side trail. But we didn’t do that until we’d already gone 0.7 miles down the mountain on the A.T. In the end, we arrived at the warming hut just before dark. Then, we stayed up talking and catching up until after 2:00 AM (the lights off for the last two hours). So, again this evening I am tired.

Everybody else went into Manchester Center, VT, today and are taking tomorrow off. I am pushing on so that when I take off for 2 days this weekend to go to rush, they won’t get too far ahead of me. With luck, I’ll be with them pretty much all the way to Katahdin.

(The first pizza turned out pretty well except it stuck to the pot a bit, which it wasn’t supposed to do. The second one is cooking now.)

The sunsets are supposed to be great at this shelter, and there are just enough clouds in the sky to make tonight’s a candidate for one of the best.

The end of the week seems so far away. Luckily, Vermont has been beautiful so far and I’ve finally caught up with some of the people I have been chasing for months. But I still wish it were already the end of the week and Julie was here.

This was a fairly significant…and highly memorable day. I’d first met Buck on June 3rd and hiked with her for a week before getting off the trail for a Love Family reunion. We really clicked (with Bearanoid as well), and I’d pretty much been keeping track of how far ahead of me she was from that point forward. So, no real surprise that we were up to 2:00 AM catching up on the prior two months — we’d made any number of mutual acquaintances along the way.

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