Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 26-May-1993

Date May 26, 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.

5/26/93 – Wed.

I hiked with Srider all day today. I had wanted to take an “easy” day, and he is notorious for going slow. The truth is, he hikes at a pretty decent pace, but he takes long breaks and burns out in the middle of the afternoon. The wisdom of his from the day was: “It doesn’t matter what you do (in life), as long as you do it.” He is forty years old, reasonably financially secure, looks like he’s in his early thirties, and loves life. He has done a lot of stuff, is pretty intelligent, and is fun to walk with. We were talking about half of the time were walking, which was nice.

Ron, John, Christy, Justin, Strider, and I are staying in the shelter tonight. We’ve been laughing a lot. Tomorrow I am tentatively going to have a long day and maybe catch Bearanoid. He had a bear cross the trail 20′ in front of him, and then Christy and Justin saw it, too. Strider and I have yet to see a bear, but the Smokies is [sic] supposedly the best place in the world to see black bears (Strider showed it to me in a magazine).

Although I got here tonight at about the same time I got to the Fontana Hilton, but thought I was much more efficient once I got to the shelter. Last night, I had hints of civilization all around, and I got flustered. There were so many places to set things down and so many things to do (shower, telephone, e.g.), that It took me twice as long to do anything. Tonight it was just me and my pack, and I still have daylight to write in.

We just saw a deer run by. Ain’t the wilderness grand? Another one just came up and wandered around about fifteen feet from the shelter. I’ve seen a lot of deer, but I think the sight of one will always be exciting. in One Man’s Meat, E.B.W. wrote an essay about deer and the fact that everyone wanted him to kill one. He sounded a lot like Bob Lyren in his reasoning as to why he didn’t shoot them. Time perspective: he mentioned that Disney was going to make Bambi into a movie.

E.B. White is awesome.

As always, I miss Julie terribly, and I find myself talking about her a lot. I am still a bit too far away to start counting the days to when I see her again.

Things still to see: a black bear, a good sunset

It seems as though I completely failed to mention that I was in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park at this point.

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