Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 02-Oct-1993 (Night)

Date October 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.

10/2/93 – Sat. (Night)

People I saw in town today: The Last Ones Out (Wayne & Lise), Old Man Sundance and Terrapin Flyer (Chad & Hillary), Airplane, Pooh Bear, Roadrunner, Porcelain Dreamer, Toe Truck, Pan, Jumpin’ Jak Flash, Iguana Donna, Chow Hound, and The Seeker U.K. Wow! Of all those, Donna and I are the only two at the shelter tonight (except for a southbound section hiker named Darryl). I just met her today, but I had been following her entries for some time, and we got along really well. She recently graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Comparative Literature.

I am almost to the end now, and it hardly seems real. After tomorrow, I will be less than a hundred miles from the top of Katahdin. A hundred miles. Two years ago, a 100-mile hike would have seemed like a major undertaking, but after 2,000 miles, it seems more like a gently denoument (spelling butchered, I’m sure). So, where was the climax? On second thought, I think the real climax will be on top of Katahdin.

Although I am not there yet, I am confident that I will be soon. Did I ever really think that I would not finish? Maybe the answer is “No.” I remember thinkign that perhaps a thru-hike was too ambitious of an undertaking, but I also remember that I could never imagine myself making the decision to leave the trail. Perhaps that decision would have taken more courage than hiking on. Would that mean I am here now because I “wimped out?”

I have persevered — set myself a very difficult goal and then achieved it. That has given me some confidence that I think I lacked before. If I think I can, I can.

Before I go nuts and ramble all over the place, I’m going to make a start of a list of topics of reflection for the next week:

  • Self-confidence
  • People on the trail — meeting, interacting, & learning from them
  • Religion
  • Pushing myself to limits
  • My future — what I want & what I expect

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