Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 16-Aug-1993

Date August 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.

8/16/93 – Mon.

Everything is wet. I made Salisbury, CT, last night and did the maildrop thing this morning. Suffice it to say that Salisbury is about as far from making anyone’s “Top Ten Trail Towns” list as it could possibly be without the use of barbed wire and shotguns.

I headed out shortly before 11:00 AM, planning on just doing an easy 14 or so miles to the Glen Brook Shelter. It started raining about 1:30 while I was eating lunch at Bond Shelter, so I just waited until the shower passed to hit the trail again. Of course, it turned out to be an all afternoon and evening precipitation thing, and I had to climb (and descend) three mountains that were 90% open rock face. I got to watch my feet go up past my head on the way down race mountain, and I got an upside-down turtle’s view of the world immediately following.

I didn’t roll into camp [until late], which meant I had to cook and eat in the dark, which I hate.

Wet socks, wet boots, wet rain cover, wet rain jacket, wet pack. And it’s still raining. This is not the sort of thing to put me in a good mood.

I never mentioned that Roadrunner’s undergraduate degree was in English.

It seems like an eternity since I last saw Julie. I don’t think I ever would have started the trail if I’d known it was going to be this hard.

If I’m remembering correctly, Salisbury, CT, wasn’t inhospitable in the same since that some of the southern towns were known to be (various trail guides warned of fish hooks being strung across the trail in certain places and certain towns to steer clear of). Rather, it was a bit of an “uppity” town. I rolled in fairly late in the evening and couldn’t readily find a cheap hotel (keeping in mind I was walking). I wound up finding a B&B, and they clearly weren’t thrilled to have my business. The bathroom was shared among several rooms, and I have a memory of pretty dirty water in the tub by the time I was done washing…and not feeling too bad about it. I couldn’t find a restaurant that was suitable for my attire, so I wound up firing up my campstove in the room I was staying in to make my dinner — the only time that I ate a “trail dinner” when staying in a town. The next morning, I hit a grocery story to supplement my maildrop, and they carried nothing in hiker-sized quantities. Obviously, you wouldn’t expect grocery stores to be particularly hiker-friendly, but more often than not, the “trail towns” embraced hikers and the local businesses went out of their way to accomodate them. Salisbury jumped out as not fitting this mold.

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