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May 27, 1981 Wednesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Had traditional breakfast again this morning except no honey, and oatmeal was 3 bags of plain flavor. I find it tough to eat regular plain oatmeal, but the variety pack includes a few plain along with the flavored. At the restaurant, I had a little bit of Bruce’s waffle after he was full.

Was raining a bit this morning when we woke up and it took us a long time to get up, and also a long time to decide what we were going to do after having eaten. We finally decided to hike and see what the weather would do. Naturally it rained on and off; however, the skies opened up and it poured during our lunch soon after reaching Sassafras Gap shelter. Joel and John, who also happened to be at the shelter, decided to move on to the next shelter 14 miles away. We all wanted to keep going if it would stop raining, but it didn’t seem to look like it would quit. We decided we wanted to keep our stuff dry so we chose to stay at the shelter even though we had only traveled about 6 miles. Had a meat bar for lunch that was given to me by Stan and Curt. Wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good. Good thing I was pretty full already. Bruce started a fire close to the shelter (which has an outhouse nearby and a good spring) that at times would smoke us all out. Kind of cool now toward evening. Everyone wishes they could have gone on today, but we’re all glad we are dry. Bruce, Mike, Chuck, Charlie, Pat and I stayed in the shelter. Some of the group want to try to go all the way to Fontana tomorrow. It’s a long way – about 22 miles – maybe I can make it too. It all depends on the weather as to where we stop I guess. Hopefully the rain will blow over tonight. I cooked minute rice with chicken soup and butterscotch pudding this evening and sit here, being bored with nothing really to do. I was sure glad to hear I got all A’s on my report card when I talked with Mom on the phone at NOC. Can’t decide how long I want to stay on the trail. It’s kind of neat as long as you have company, but I don’t like having to push all the time. (I don’t really know what I was referring to “having to push all the time”. In the last few days I had only hiked a handful of miles, skipped a bunch, and rode quite a few. Today we only hiked six.)

The guide says we would have had some real nice views today, but the fog covered everything. Tomorrow we climb Cheoah Bald which supposedly has fantastic views, but I believe we will probably miss it due to fog as well. I spotted some pink lady’s slipper orchids, some red efts and a new type of trillium with red leaves – impressive. It’s nice to hike in the fog as the sun doesn’t beat down and fry you, but I like to see views also. Bruce & Mike are really characters, they keep coming up with all kind of stories and keep the conversation moving. They get rather crude at times. I wish I contributed more.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981