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June 3 , 1981 Wednesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I don’t know what happened, other than to say that I gave up my individuality today.
Had Pat and I stuck to our original plans, we would have been together, perhaps gotten to know one another more, and kept from missing the rest of the Smokies.

But, now I’m in Gatlinburg! Everyone decided this morning to go, so I did too. We hiked the three miles to Clingman’s Dome observatory, but we passed it up by about ¾ mile due to heavy fog. Once we began descending, I began to question if we had passed by without noticing it, and sure enough we had. We all turned around and went back, meeting at the parking lot a short distance from the tower.

Since there were six of us, we split up into parties of two to hitch to Gatlinburg. We ran across a young guy (age 25) named Bob, and his girlfriend from Michigan. We got a ride for all six of us in his silver truck, which was something like a 1957 UPS truck. He drove the twenty two miles pretty slow on the up and down grades, but got us there safetly. Bob was a real nifty guy – long hair and a beard. They had been hiking and had just come back from Florida. He took us right into town where we looked for a room. The best deal we could find was renting a house for $60 - split 6 ways.

Got a little settled in, took a shower, put on my jeans, and took my laundry uptown to find a laundry mat. Of course I got rained on while I looked, so after washing I threw part of what I had on into the dryer with the rest. Once that was done, I got on a bus, stopped to buy some post cards then went in search of groceries. Bought a few at a small place then caught the bus out to “Battles” food store – a good place with a good selection of food suitable for hiker trail consumption, and fairly cheap. Spent almost $20 on food again – mostly gorp material.

I returned to the house after several hours and found Chuck and Mike mostly drunk and ready to go back. Mike borrowed my jeans and went with Bruce, Chuck, and Charlie to get drunk somewhere in town. Just so happens Bruce left his jacket at one of the places and had to run back to get it – lucky again!!

Pat, slightly inebriated, wanted to do her laundry. She did not know where the laundry was so I accompanied her to the laundry mat late at night. While there she pretty much began hanging on me and as much as propositioned me right there next to the dryers. I did not want to take advantage of her in her condition, plus I was pretty sure Bruce had been sleeping with her recently and as crude as he seemed, I was not sure I wanted to visit anywhere he had been. We got back around 1:00 am. And I went to sleep alone in my own bed.

Bruce talked to his stepmother on the phone earlier today and was told that some hikers had been murdered in Virginia. Spooky. (Their bodies were discovered about three days previous, just as we entered the Smokies and left contact with the outside world. Not much was known about the murderer yet. We did not even know if they had been caught or not)

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981