Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 05-Oct-1993

Date October 5, 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.

10/5/93 – Tue.

I’m alone tonight but don’t feel much like writing.

It’s starting to get colder. I hiked all day for the first time without taking off either my long underwear tops or bottoms. The temperature was right at freezing this morning, and there was still ice on the ground at late morning on the top of White Cap Mountain.

I’m back to having aches & pains I had in Georgia — partly due to my heavy pack (food), and partly because my body has about had it. My hips were really hurting on Sunday, so I hiked with a couple of pieces of insulite pad over them, and they have bothered me yesterday or today. I have a small blister on my right heel which I’ve had since Monson and which I couldn’t get adhesive knit or moleskin to stick to (wet)., but it, too, was much better today. Finally, my right Achilles tendon is really sore, and that is not improving. It only really bothers me when going uphill, though, and I had my last remotely major climb today (excepting Katahdin, of course). Hopefully, that will not worsen. Three more days with a full pack is all I ask, then one day up and down the big “K,” and it will be R&R time for this body.

The mice through the 100-Mile Wilderness are horrendous. They are not stopped by conventional means (i.e., a string with an upside-down can on it), so I’m back to hanging my food in a tree.

So, maybe I felt like writing a bit after all. What else can a body do when it’s dark by seven o’clock?

I’m realizing now that, in my journal, I totally omitted my trip to the Dartmouth Medical Center (I think that’s what it was) in Hanover, NH (I think that’s where I was) for my hip. My right hip, in particular, had a swollen, tender knob on it that was a chronic bother. Ultimately, what I found out when a doctor looked at it was that I wasn’t doing any permanent damage, and the only “cure” was to stop hiking. So, I soldiered on. There is still a faint, discolored spot on my hip from the experience 15 years later. That would only qualify as “permanent damage” if I had tried to become a professional skivvies model…which was never a career trajectory for which I was within a million miles!

2 Responses to “Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 05-Oct-1993”

  1. Kim said:

    I’ve been reading the entries a little out of order, but it hit me that just about the time you realized you had “only” 100 miles to go and that you were not going to have a problem making it, that you started focusing on your aches and pains. Something about realizing the goal was completely attainable and that you didn’t have to be so focused on continuing to press through and forward?

  2. Mom said:

    The weather this morning included the fact that the rangers at Baxter State Park have had to close some trails, including the ones that go to Katahdin’s summit, due to snow and ice. Dad and I could not help wondering if there were through hikers who are, at this point, so close yet so far!

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