August 9, 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.
8/9/93 – Mon.
I did a long hard 25.3 miles today to get to Wawayanda Shelter. From people I talked to on the trail, I thought I was going to catch Roadrunner here, but the shelter was empty when I got here and I am now the sole occupant.
I’m still not really sure what I’m going to do about the road-walk around Harriman State Park. If I feel up to it, I may push to about 30 miles before camping tomorrow so I can get in and out of Bear Mountain the next day and on to the monastery for the evening (private room, AYCE diner, AYCE breakfast). But , that would make for a couple more long days, which I’m not sure I’m up for.
It’s really starting to seem like fall is on the way! Along some sections of the trail, the ground is covered with recently fallen leaves. There is the merest hint of a chill in the air in the morning, and the swelteringly hot portion of the day is only a few hours long, rather than most of the day. And the shortening of the days is almost noticeable.
I never mentioned that Julie spotted a coyote when she was hiking with me, which was kind of neat.
I’ve run into the same ridge runner two days in a row now. His name is Artie, trail name "Mushroom Man." He could actually pass for a late-fifties version of Jack (mentioned in earlier journal — the unofficial "Mushroom Man"). He’s got the same long beard, and he talks as much, but what he has to say is much more coherent.
Tomorrow I will cross the NY-NJ border. States down: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. States to go: New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine. I may get there after all!
I haven’t talked to Julie since last Thursday, and it seems like an eternity. I screwed up on Friday and didn’t call until after she’d left for West Virginia, which I’ve kicked myself about daily.
This shelter is supposed to have a semi-resident bear that is somewhat crippled. I hung my food bag well, so I’m not too worried about it, but I do wonder if she will make a visit or not. I guess I will find out.
Scratching your head as to "AYCE?" That’s "all you can eat." I did stay at the monastery, so more on that in an upcoming entry.
I’m not sure about the "she’d left for West Virginia." For some reason, I’m thinking Julie was heading from West Virgina back to Akron, so that might just be sloppy documentation.
The ridge runner was an interesting role. Along certain sections of the trail, these were people who were hired pretty much to walk different sections of the trail every day to help out hikers, check for maintenance needs, and generally be "eyes" on the trail. Not a bad gig.
And, now that I’m an entry or two past the night super-crowded night, I’m realizing that I didn’t make a note the next day about the next shelter I passed. I stopped for lunch at a shelter where the journal register logged accounts of recent encounters with a bear. I remember thinking that: a) there was a darn good chance at least one of those groups was heading for that shelter for the evening, and b) those kids left a lot of dirty dishes lying around after dinner. I always wondered if there was an adventure on someone’s hands that night.