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July 1, 1981 Wednesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Woke up this morning after a long rest for most of the night. Almost 11 hours of sleep. Fixed breakfast and packed up. I began searching for the fire tower and some place called High Rock. I found no fire tower, and there was no view due to low clouds. The trail descended down the mountain, met the road, and then I road-walked for a few miles until I reached the town of Crandon, Virginia. I stopped at the small general store there and bought a pint of ice cream. I walked on up VA 608 until intersecting with the new trail, where just a little farther on the authorities had recommended hikers leave the trail to bypass the murder site. I left a note at this point telling Jeanne, Bill, Peter, and Bob that I would meet them at Pizza Hut in Pearisburg on Friday for the all you can eat buffet.

The murderer had been caught by this time, but I still did not know if I was going to hike the trail or skip the section as I walked down the road (trail). (On June 22, 1981 Randall Lee Smith was arrested after he was found hiding in a wooded area in Myrtle Beach.) A mile or so farther on I came across a farmhouse with some folks sitting around and talking. I stopped to chat for a while, and eventually was talked into skipping the section to Pearisburg. Later, one of the guys drove me to VA 42 where I began hitching. The hitching was tough, and I didn’t get a ride right off – walked probably three to four miles when finally two guys stopped, their car already packed with gear. They had been caving down south. They took me to route 100 and a little bit up it before they turned off.

At this point, just where they let me out, there were a bunch of dumpsters on the other side of the road. I saw an elderly couple dumping, so I hurried over to see if I could get a ride. I asked if they were going to Pearisburg. They said they were going through it and told me to get in. They bragged about their son who was sort of a “professional fisherman” who had won a lot of tournaments. They left me off somewhere in the town of Pearisburg, and I had to ask someone how to get to the hospice. As I walked to it I ran into the Pizza Hut along the way and just could not pass up the buffet. As I ate, Bruce and Joel came in after doing their laundry. After consuming as much as we could eat, I followed them back to the hospice and set my gear down. Once I was there, I didn’t do much the rest of the afternoon other than talk with Joel, and another guy, Larry, who had been there for a week or more ‘cause his funds ran out. Went to the Kroger later with Joel, and watched him spend $30 for groceries. Hospice is barn shaped and rustic in appearance. Very nice though.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981