Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 11-Oct-2008

Date October 11, 2008

That’s right…THIS is the final post in my write-up/reflections on my 1993 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, which culminated on October 10, 1993.

I figured I should probably reflect a little bit, so I’ll do that in bulleted form:

  • Towards the end of the hike, a common shelter conversation was, “Would you want to do the A.T. again?” I fell in the resounding, “Not really” camp. Fifteen years later? Yeah, I would like to do it again. But slower this time. I’d want to do it as a single-season thru-hike, though, which means it won’t be practical for the foreseeable future.
  • If I did hike again, there would be three major technology changes that I would have mixed feelings about:
    • Ultra compact digital cameras — I do wish I had more of a photographic record of the experience, and a digital camera would make that a lot easier
    • Alcohol-powered stoves — this would just be a different fuel source, but akin to how the white gas fueled MSR Whisperlite was the “latest” stove technology when I hiked
    • Cell phones — as a safety mechanism, turned off and stowed in the pack only for use in a dire situation would be okay; my fear, though, is that I (and others) would be drawn to using them regularly, which would be a shame
  • I’d forgotten how much I wrote about Julie in the journal. But, it’s kinda’ neat to look back now and know that they weren’t just hormone-driven longings! Fifteen years later, there’s a high level of suckiness when it comes to being on the road and away from her for a week.
  • Buck really was a neat person, and shame on me for letting us lose touch. She’s been married and living an hour outside of Raleigh for years, but I didn’t have her address or her e-mail address. I don’t really like talking on the phone, but that’s still just silly to not have given her a call. I finally did pick up the phone a few weeks ago and, after a short round of phone tag, we did manage to connect one night and had a really nice chat. And, we agreed that we’d do a better job of staying in touch

These days, five months goes by in the blink of an eye. The time I spent on the trail, however, remains a firmly implanted and rich set of experiences in my memory. I was fortunate not only to have had the opportunity to hike the trail, but the hubris to believe that I could pull it off.

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