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June 27 , 1981 Saturday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Nice night’s sleep, but very chilly when I awoke at 5:30 am. Consequently, I laid around in the bag (Northface’s Cat’s Meow) for a while, then got up and fixed breakfast in my tent. My tent was just a cheap pup tent that I bought for about $19.95. The stove warmed it up a little. The temperature is about 46 degrees F! Hope it gets a little warmer since I left my sweatshirt at the hostel because it was generally warm enough, and I hadn’t used it for a few weeks. I had not learned about the wonders of wool sweaters at this point, and just like the white gym socks, I carried a cotton sweatshirt for additional warmth.

Traditional breakfast today. I can hear cows in the background as I sit eating my gruel. As the sun came up the temperature rose within an hour to 56 degrees. We saw a guy pass by before we started. He didn’t see us because we were off the trail. I left Bill and Jean because I was ready and trucked off at a fast pace. Almost immediately after leaving I jumped two deer. After hiking a couple of miles, I caught up with the mysterious hiker who had passed us by earlier, Peter Hsia. I decided to walk with him for a while. We walked along and talked. The conversation eventually came upon the topic of where we went to school. Him at Harvard, me at SIU. He said he knew someone at Southern Illinois University majoring in Aviation and I asked who that was. The name he gave me was Ted Trimble! I told Peter that in the dorm where I lived, he was just a door down from me! Real Amazing! We talked about Ted for a while, including his fascination with building clay model characters. I took a couple breaks, and ate lunch around 2:20 – 3:20 pm at Comer’s Creek, and then pushed on. At a trailside register, I found Bruce, Pat, and Chuck’s names where they had signed in. They are apparently about 17 miles ahead. They hitched out of Damascus and jumped ahead of me. I’ll have to catch them somehow. I have decided to try to hike an old route of the AT beginning at a particular spot coming up in order to bypass the site of the murder, one of the Wapiti shelters, which would also save me about 17 miles. I have a feeling I may be alone in the next few days – especially if I take the cut. Peter was going to stick to the current route.

Rice & onion soup for super. I stayed at Trimpi shelter at the conclusion of 20 miles for the day. The gravel floor was nice, particularly after I dug a little indentation for my rear – felt pretty good.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981