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June 30 , 1981 Tuesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I woke up this morning after a very pleasant night. Didn’t get rained on last night anyway, and experienced virtually no back problems this morning. Before eating breakfast, I went out in search of the spring. There was supposedly a blue-blazed trail leading to it, - although I hadn’t found it last night. Walked all around and finally spotted a blue-blaze. The trail was still hard to find, and after finding the two cisterns I was disappointed to find them not running. I opened one up and there was water, but it smelled a little. I rigged up a bucket, brought some out, and boiled it for a few minutes. Afterwards, poured it into my quart container and dissolved the required amount of iodine tablets in the container. Although it was probably now safe to drink, it still smells a little unpleasant. I decided to use it as my emergency supply since I still had a little from Reed’s Creek in my water bag.

Packed up and headed down the road under questionable partly cloudy skies. I saw where the interstate passed under Walker Mountain through a tunnel. I arrived at Turkey Gap, where water was supposed to be 300 or so yards down to right. I put down my pack, grabbed my water bag, and took off in search of it only to find a small, barely flowing spring. I finished off the good water in the bag and filled it back up with this apparently OK water. Later on I treated it, and it tastes OK and I haven’t got sick yet. Arrived at Turkey Gap Lean-to directly, but passed on quickly toward High Rock shelter. It started raining, then pouring, and my feet got totally soaked. I could feel the water all the way up to my heals sloshing about. I comically thought, “maybe it will wash my socks a bit”. My feet were hurting as I pulled into High Rock shelter, plus I also had a nasty gash on my left palm obtained while falling on a large,slanted, slick rock during the rain. The rain subsided as I was at the shelter so I checked out the fire warden’s cabin a few hundred feet farther on. The cistern there was working, but the water was a little cloudy. I boiled some, then cooked some grits. I then dumped the quart I was carrying and refilled it with some of the cistern water with the addition of two iodine tabs. Decided to stay there for a while, let my socks and feet dry out and wait to see what the weather was going to do. It got a little sunny for a while, then it came again – rain. I’m glad I stayed, I am spending the night here with the lockable door, wire bunks and carpet floor! I took the opportunity of filling up my cook pots with fresh rainwater that I plan on using for cooking. Read books and laid around this afternoon trying to figure out when I can get to Pearisburg - and if that is all the farther I’ll go or not. I believe I will go by bus to Charleston and visit my friend, David for a while after the 4th in Pearisburg. I feel that the trail is nice, but it seems not much different than walking on a trail in Southern Illinois, and there is not that much pleasure. In fact, usually there is physical discomfort.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981