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May 30, 1981 Saturday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Excellent sleep last night! No waking up with sore joints, rear end, or heals from resting on hard surfaces. My 3/8 inch thick Ensolite pad just does not give me the padding that I need in the shelters. Didn’t wake up at all until morning when Bruce’s watch alarm went off – must have been around 6 or 7, but I ignored the ring and then slept some more until about eight o’clock. Got up and ate Raisin Bran I bought many miles back at Suches (Most Raisin Bran comes in 20 oz boxes. Did I carry that weight all this time? No wonder I was having problems!). Started cleaning everything up and packing my pack. Chuck and I took the keys back to the office and checked out; then we went to the laundromat and washed a few clothes. Went into the grocery store and bought $30 worth of goods. A lot of the cost was tied up in materials for gorp: 1 lb M&M’s plain & 1 lb peanut, ½ lb Reese bits, big box of raisins, large can of cocktail peanuts. Other items included a few dinners, lunches, pudding desserts, and 12 snickers candy bars. Pack is definitely heavy now! (I guess so with at least 4 pounds tied up in gorp!) Back of my right ankle is very tender and sore today. I hope this day of not hiking will do it good. Chuck and I would like to take about 8 days thru the Smokies, but it appears that the maximum limit is seven. Maybe we can talk the ranger into giving us an extra day. We would like to take our time and enjoy this much celebrated wonderful park because we are under the impression that this is one of the most beautiful parts of the Appalachians and afterwards in later days we will be running into towns quite often, and will not feel as if we are in the wild. Therefore we want to enjoy the wilderness while we can.

Taking a lazy afternoon. Chuck is writing an article for a newspaper about his experience on the AT. Bruce & Mike went to the shelter and are going to go swimming. Wanted to mail a few things home to Mom – especially two rolls of film, but we waited too long and the PO closed at 12:00. Now I’ll have to carry them – more weight! Since the PO was closed, I bought some stamps from Chuck to send my five post cards. I had to get them sent so people would know where to send things to me at the next post office. I never asked for anything but letters, but hope for cookies or anything else. A pint of butter pecan ice cream beckoned me to purchase it, and I also bought a lighter to light my stove, then loaded up into the Fontanabus and got taken close enough to walk to the TVA shelter near the lake. Didn’t get our permits today. We might be out of luck as far as getting spaces in the same shelters. Bruce, Chuck, and I took a little skinny dip in Fontana lake behind the shelter. We were standing around when a boat started coming close. We all dove in real quick and had a good laugh. We joked about watching out for the pecker fish! Nice swim. (I do not know where Pat was while all this was happening, I am sure I would have remembered her skinny dipping, and probably would not have done it if there was a woman around at the time. I also notice that there have not been any direct references in previous journal entries, other than to say she was there, even though I know she was present and she shows up in some of my photos. I remember her telling me that she had been a Bunny at one of the Playboy clubs at one time. Perhaps that, along with the fact that I had a girlfriend back home, and that Bruce seemed to be hovering around her a good portion of the time, kept my hormones in check. She was a very nice looking, well endowed woman.)

Had rice, flavored with beef and mushroom soup, with a slice of cheese and a little sardine juice thrown in. Now just sitting around getting things organized. Seems as though I am missing a group of Pop-Tarts – thought for sure I bought 2 boxes? I met a guy at the TVA shelter named Larry who also goes to school at Carbondale SIU, majoring in communications or something like that. He works with the SPC Student Programming Council). He plans on hiking until August, then go back to school. John Smart showed up at the shelter with a dog he had picked up along the way. This presented a problem for him. He had to figure out what to do with it since dogs are not allowed in the Smokies. A nice shower developed in the evening.
(We have not heard, but on this date, May 30-31, 1981 Susan Ramsay’s and Robert Mountford’s bodies were found buried near an A.T. shelter near the Giles-Bland county line. It was the first double homicide on the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail.)

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981