Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 13-Sep-1993

Date September 13, 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.

9/13/93 – Mon.

Brief update: We stayed another full day at Madison Springs Hut because when we got up it was a wind chill factor of -0.9 degrees Fahrenheit with driving ice/sleet/snow. Yesterday, we finally hit the trail and hiked to Carter Notch Hut, but we got kind of a late start, took a long break at Pinkham Notch Camp (I called Julie), and didn’t roll into the hut until almost dark. Today, we had a lazy, tired day and again walked into the night, this time with another thru-hiker named Airplane. The shelter we had planned to stay at was full of some card-playing yokels, so we mushed on down the trail and actually camped on it, about 1.5 miles from the road to Gorham.

All three of us are tired — tired of the trail, tired of having aching bodies.

I actually remember the first part of this update clearly as well — the hike to Carter Notch Hut. I’m surprised I didn’t write up one of the anecdotes that has stuck with me for years about that hike. It was a weird day overall — the late start after spending two nights at Madison Springs Hut, the long lunch with the call to Julie, and hiking much later. It was chilly, and, as it got dark, it got even chillier. Buck and I started fantasizing about warm food — specifically apple pie. The hut system only operated through Labor Day. After that, they would have a caretaker stay on through the winter, but they weren’t open to the normal traffic. Thru-hikers were an exception, but, still, after Labor Day, there was no “work for room and board” at the huts, because there was no “board” provided to a full house. What made the evening memorable was that, when we finally did arrive — a little beat. As we hung out, the story of our warm food fantasies as darkness fell came up…and the caretaker busted out a No. 10 can of apple pie filling on hand left over from the summer!

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