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June 20 , 1981 Saturday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I had a pretty nice sleep last night on the lawn of the church even though many cars go past during the night. Later this morning we found out from a Gomer named Gary that a light was put up in that area because everyone used to go parking there forcing the sheriff to continually have to run up there to break ‘em up. Tried something new this morning: grits and oatmeal mixed for breakfast. The tent was quite damp from condensation by the time we got up this morning.

We got everything packed up and went down to 19E and started hitching. A pickup stopped right away but wasn’t going far enough. Got a ride from a couple of good ol’ boys in an old Comet all the way to the town of Roan. After that we secured a ride in a black pickup with a driver who had the honking fits. He honked at everything and everybody. He drove us into Hampton. We got to the post office just a few minutes too late, but it opened again at 12:00. Tried to call Jim Triplett twice this morning. I figured he was with his folks in Iowa for Father’s Day or something. Consumed a hamburger at Lou and Terrisa’s diner, and bought a dozen eggs and a hunk of cheese at a nearby grocery store. Now, just sitting around waiting for the PO to open. Obviously the joint is open now. Chuck sent home some surveys that had something to do with his being a stringer for the newspaper, and I sent off a letter to Jim.

We walked down 321 near Watuga lake, and were resting at the gas station when a red car flew past and we hear someone yell “Chuck!” The vehicle turned around and came back. Inside were Pat and Bruce. They were getting a tour of the area from the driver and said they would come back in a few minutes. It’s amazing how we keep getting together each time after being split up. They had hitched a little themselves, and said the relocation just out of Elk Park was a bitch! The guy in the gas/grocery store noticed we were “thruhikers” and asked us if we knew anything about Warren Doyle. We knew he was a record setting ex-marine out to set the record again, but had never met him. Apparently he had left a package there and he was at least a week late in picking it up. We didn’t know what happened to him, but the guy should have given us the package since any record setter would have been on time and if after a week he had not shown up, you can pretty much figure he was not coming. Bruce and Pat came back and we hiked to the beach area along the trail. I found a wallet with six dollars, only one ID , and several pictures and passes (faculty?). I gave it to a ranger and told him my address to send the money in case no one claimed the wallet.(I really wanted to keep the money, and figured the ranger would keep it himself, but my conscience told me to turn it in. I never received a thank you, so I figured my original thought about the ranger was correct.) Everyone went for a swim ‘cept me. I ate the endings of the granola clusters that Mom had sent me. We walked a couple of miles to the next shelter and fixed supper. Had rice with cream of chicken soup. I also tried to make an omelet with my eggs and cheese. It stuck to the pan and turned out to be scrambled eggs and cheese with summer sausage, but not bad though. Rained this evening pretty good for a while then slacked off. Saw several whitish Indian pipe type plants. Stayed tonight at the brand new Watauga shelter.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981