June 16, 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.
6/16/93 – Wed.
We walked a fairly easy 13 miles today and are staying in Iron Mtn. Shelter with an older couple from Hawaii and a friend of theirs. The couple is hiking selected sections of the A.t. from Georgia to Maine, usually northbound but at the moment southbound.
Bearanoid left a farewell entry of sorts in the Vendeventer Shelter register; it was a page long and talked about how much he has enjoyed hiking the A.T. this time (he also mentioned that he saw a naked girl posing in front of Laurel Falls for her boyfriend). He signed off, “Peace & Love – Bearanoid,” which sounds almost like a liberal, so maybe Buck and I had an effect on him after all.
Buck left me a message in the register here — said she missed me and hopes to see me soon. The feeling is mutual, as I enjoyed her company on the trail more than anyone except Bearanoid. In spite of the amicability in the shelters that I have written about, there are surprisingly few people that I can actually look forward to seeing day after day. I was more acutely aware of this after spending two nights with Shortcut, Bones, and Andy. Everyone got along fine, we joked and laughed quite a bit, but I was glad that they would be staying a shelter ahead of us tonight. The novelty of their company had worn out, which it had not done with Bearanoid or Buck. The thought does cross my mind that perhaps I am attracted to Buck, which would be bad. I don’t think I am, though. I miss her company in the same way I am sad that Bearanoid is off the trail. I also feel that if I were attracted to her, there would be some weakening of my feelings for Julie, which has certainly not occurred. This whole male/female thing really does get in the way of things. Julie had joked about me meeting “someone else” on the trail, and now I have met someone with exactly that potential. I worry that Julie will worry about this, even though I know there is nothing to worry about. Julie is undeniably, unquestionably, and totally the love of my live, and I certainly hope that never changes.
Ron has been reading my copy of the Tao Te Ching and is really getting into it. He periodically has me read passages that he thinks are particularly good or relevant. There really is some good stuff in there!
I just re-read my “article” from last night. It seems pretty rough, and it seems like I lacked a real sense of purpose while writing it. I’ll try writing a couple more and see how it goes.
Hiking with Ron and holding back to shorter mileage days, I think I have found something else that I like about hiking, mainly because I haven’t been doing it. I like to push myself physically, meaning I would rather go for the shelter at 21 miles than the one at 13. There are people out here who make high mileage their primary goal, and I think they miss out on a lot. I, on the other hand, like Bearanoid, enjoy pushing myself physically — not to the point of misery, but more to the point of tiredness, the point that makes me feel like I have really gone somewhere. I think there is a difference. Otherwise, I am one of those hikers that is missing out on a lot.
Me?! I actually like to physically exert myself on a daily basis? Hmmm. I must’ve dropped that joy some time in my 20s, as getting to the gym is a serious act of willpower these days.