Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 14-Jul-1993

Date July 14, 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.

7/14/93 – Wed.

23.5 miles today to Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter. It’s 9:00 PM, and I’m about as close to being positive that I will be alone this evening. Cloud & Scout almost definitely stopped for the evening at the shelter where I ate lunch today. They never showed up last night, so they would have had to do something over 23 1/2 miles to get here, which just isn’t likely.

I’ve had Julie on the brain all day today. She’s not supposed to be at Ashby Gap until 6:00 PM tomorrow evening, and I have a feeling I will be there before that. I suspect she might, too.

I saw a little bear cub this morning. When it saw me, it took off down the hill so fast that it tripped and flipped head over heels a couple of times before it could right itself. It looked like Winnie the Pooh doing a Tigger imitation!

I saw multiple deer today, including a couple of moderately sized bucks. This afternoon, I came across a doe that was standing in the middle of the trail facing me. i decided to just keep walking at her until she bolted, but finally had to stop when I was about five fee away because she was making no move to flee. I stood there and talked to her for a while, explaining that I had no food to give her and would she kindly step aside to let me pass. After bout 30 seconds of this nonsense, something finally spooked her and she took off.

I got caught in a brief but hard rainstorm today, so my boots are drenched and will probably remain that way all through tomorrow, which is not a pleasant thought.

At the very end of the day today I left Shenandoah National Park. Unlike when I left the Smokies, today I had a real sense that was “returning” to the A.T. The Shenandoah’s have been so commercialized and “car-camper” oriented that the park is just like a big zoo. Even the wild animals there are not as wild as they should be. Also, with all the stores and restaurants near the trail (not to mention Skyline Drive), it was hard to think of myself really being out in the woods. Sure, it was nice to be able to have an ice cream bar every day, but, then again, how much better would ice cream at Gommie’s have tasted if I hadn’t eaten any since Waynesboro? Much, I think.

I made my fruit stew again tonight, but improved on it somewhat. I had a little over a cup of blackberries & blueberries, I had some dried “fruit bits” (store-bought), I had home-dried strawberries, and I used two fruit punch Jolly Rancher hard candies for sweeteners instead of Kool-Aid. I had a larger quantity than I had last time, and I think it tasted better. Watch out Julia Child — Gilligan is in the kitchen.

And that is my day in a nutshell. Tomorrow I see Julie, and there is nothing else I can think of that could get me out of my sleeping bag faster tomorrow morning.

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