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June 2 , 1981 Tuesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Alarm went off at 7 o’clock – I don’t know why, I thought I had turned it off. I turned it off and went back to sleep. It is raining again!! What a morning. We all (our little group) have seven miles to go today so no one is in too much of a hurry to get out of their bags. Larry has 14 to go; he is up and getting ready to go, as is John and Jack. Even at 8:30am no one is getting up. Who knows when we will get started.

Mike was disgusted with Bruce, who had been cussing all afternoon yesterday, so when Mike couldn’t get the stove going, he decided to “leave this fuckin’ weather, walk to Clingman’s Dome, hitch a ride to Gatlinburg, and later meet us at Davenport Gap”. He packed up and left the shelter, as did Charlie. Chuck and I started hiking about 11:12am, I believe, and after a couple of hours made it to Siler Bald shelter. I quickly found a spot to relieve myself, ate lunch and then a young guy from Raleigh N.C. came in from the north and set up a clothes line to dry his tent - the sun was now out! He had been along a creek on one of the side trails and was trout fishing. He relieved himself of some weight by giving Chuck some rice, and me some oatmeal and spun honey. We took a long lunch today – one hour and seven minutes, left Siler Bald shelter and arrived at Double Springs shelter after about 45 minutes. Mike and Charlie were already there. Mike said his leg was bothering him and as a result he didn’t go on to Clingman’s and Gatlinburg as he had earlier planned. Chuck and Charlie are now talking about going into Gatlinburg also. The rainy weather seems to be getting on everyone’s nerves. It was sunny for a few hours today, but began clouding up about 3:30 pm. A torrential downpour began around 5:30pm or so. Pat arrived just before the rain – Bruce came in about 10 – 15 minutes later – now totally soaked again. Cleared up, or in other words quit raining after an hour or so.

Had Beef noodles for supper and also mooched some gorp from Mike and a spoonful of chocolate pudding from Chuck. Five scouts came rambling in around 7:15. They started their stove and just started heating water when Mike’s pack fell and spilled their water after the old string he had hung it from broke under the tension. It started pouring again around 7:35 pm. How sickening - it is nice to be in the shelter though. Thoughts of death lingered in the air since this is supposedly the shelter that two honeymooners were killed in as lightening struck them sometime last year. It feels pretty crowded in this shelter now, and it’s still one person from total capacity.

Well, now it looks like everyone wants to go to Gatlinburg. I think I will stay on the trail and get out of the Smokie’s as soon as possible on our schedule. Pat doesn’t want to go to Gatlinburg either, so we plan on getting up at 6:00 am tomorrow morning since we have to go fourteen miles, and part of that is up Clingman’s Dome – almost 7000 feet in altitude, and the highest point on the Appalachian Trail.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981