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1983 Journal

July 11, 1981 Saturday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Up at 6:30 and off to Montebello. Mom had sent a package there before the decision to quit had occurred and we hoped to retrieve it. We drove part way there utilizing the Blue Ridge Parkway. We ate pancakes at the little store/PO in Montebello and luckily were able to pick up the package. We made another stop, this time for lunch, in Kenova (State unknown) at a place called the Chatterbox restaurant. We were back home in Illinois at 10:15 pm (CST).

The end had come quick. As far as I can remember, the main reason for quitting was blister problems that would not heal due to constant dampness of my boots and socks. Looking back, I think part of the problem was also the actual socks that I wore. They were white cotton socks, without liners. Sore heals were the main symptom, although nightly back pains definitely factored into it as well. But these were only symptoms, and the real reason for quitting was probably more the fact that if I kept going, I would not have been able to actually claim I had walked the entire Appalachian Trail. Many people do claim completion even though they have done the same thing I had done – skip some sections. I had ended up about 678 miles from where I had begun on the Appalachian Trail, but I estimate that I missed about 120, thus actually hiked only about 558 miles. For my first ever backpacking trip, I think I had done quite well. All I know for sure is that almost immediately after I had finished, I began to plan for the next trip, where I would use all that I had learned to make sure that I would overcome all the obstacles and become an official 2000 miler. I had not quit because I did not like the trail, but because I liked it so much, I knew I would return and make sure I did not miss any part of it.

Continue on with the adventure: 1983 Journal "All In One Roll"

What happened to Randall Lee Smith?

* March 23, 1982: Smith pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in both deaths and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
* Sept. 27, 1996: Smith was released from prison on mandatory parole.
* Sept. 26, 2006: Smith was taken off of probation.
* May 6, 2008: Scott Johnson and Sean Farmer were shot in the Dismal area of Giles County, Va. That same day, a
uthorities apprehended Smith after he crashed a pickup truck that belonged to one of two fishermen shot that day. (for their story, click here)
* May 10, 2008 Smith dies in the hospital, perhaps as the result of injuries sustained in the crash.



Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981