June 17, 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.
6/18/93 – Fri. (Morning)
This is sort of last night’s entry. I did my longest day yesterday in terms of trail miles, covering 26.2 and making it all the way to Damascus. Ron pointed out that that was just a hair over the length of a marathon, but he was as game as I was. We’ll see what kind of a toll the long distance takes on our bodies. It was fairly level walking, but the last several miles, as usually happens when coming into a town, were mostly downhill, which does a number on knees and feet at the end of the day.
We stayed at “The Place” — a hostel run by the Methodist church. Andy and Bones were here, as were the Children of the Trail — John’s hip belt blew out on him, so they hitched a ride from Watauga Lake to Damascus, where he could wait for a replacement.
We (Ron & I) went to a little pub right next to the laundromat and ate and had a few beers while we did laundry, and then we came back to the hostel and hung out on the front porch drinking beer and talking with other people. We didn’t drink all that much, as we are planning on heading out right after lunch today and covering about 9.4 miles.
I did not have any luck getting in touch with Julie in Florida, although I did talk to both her aunt and uncle briefly. She was apparently out with the gang from Sensor-matic and had not gotten back in by 11:30 PM, so I will try again this morning.
There were probably 20-30 people staying here last night — some of them thru-hikers I have seen no mention of in the registers, and many bicyclists.
Probably the worst thing about yesterday’s hike was the abundance of nettles along the trail — they sting and then itch, and in places they were so high that they were slapping at our upper things. I even caught a few on my hand! The trail from Elk Park to Damascus was the worst-maintained I’ve seen yet. I realize that the maintenance is carried out by volunteers and I should be grateful that so many do do a good job, but in sections like the past few, it’s difficult to not complain and whine a bit.
It is now 8:00 AM and time to call Julie.