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Aug 23 , 1983 Tuesday (360.6 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Took my time getting going this morning after the big breakfast. Most guests had left by the time I got around to leaving. This was something quite unprecedented. Usually I was one of the first ones out. The trail woke me up with its three quarter mile steep climb up to South Twin Mountain. The sky was still overcast in the wake of yesterdays rainstorm, and there were no view to be had as I reached the summit. Several people were there waiting for the skies to clear, and it looked as thought it might. I told everyone up there that I wasn't waiting around, and that if I left the weather would surely clear. I headed on down the trail gradually descending toward Mt. Guyot a few miles away. The weather did clear up later in the day, and perhaps broke up a bit after I left, but I had to move on and was rewarded with a terrific view of Whitewall Mountain from Zeacliff, a mile or so before arriving at Zealand Falls Hut.

I reached the hut and decided to take a break, eat my lunch and relax before moving on. I was still being nagged by that tiny pea sized blister on the back of my Achilles tendon that started just before Vermont. I decided to pop the blister, which was located right under the collar of my boot and continued to be aggravated by the boot top on every step. I don't really know what it was, a bug or spider bite maybe, but the puss that came out of that little blister filled the air with the most foul smelling odor that I had smelled in a long time - even worse than "The Trailwalker." Now that the blister was gone, the boot did not seem to touch as much and I now felt relief.

While at the Zealand Falls Hut, I met Bruce's wife and his other gorgeous daughter! She was more my age, but it would have been difficult to decide which was better looking. I picked up a tip at the hut about a former thru-hiker named Dan Harty that puts up hikers near Crawford Notch. This sounded interesting, so I said goodbye to the ladies and continued on past Zealand Falls, down to the valley floor, where along the base of Whitewall Mountain the trail followed an old railroad bed beside Whitewall Brook. I stopped in at Ethan Pond Shelter to check it out and read the register. The Shelter was located directly beside a nice little pond and seemed like a very nice place to stay. I discovered and studied some interesting Amanita mushrooms growing nearby that had just come up.

From there I began the descent into Crawford Notch where route 302 lay at the lowest point. Once at the road, I hitched a ride to a place where I could telephone the Harty's. I spoke to a female who said that Don was not home, but someone would be by to pick me up later. Don's father came and offered me a ride to Don's house. To my surprise I had talked to Kathy, who I had hiked with back near Damascus, Virginia! Along with her was Ron, who I also had met back then. A couple of new people I had not met were there also: Claude Griffith "The Maximus", Nick Schmidt , and Susan "Lan A.T. Hiker" Parsons sometimes known as "Space Kadet". I was able to shower up, and feel at home as we had a great feast that night, and I took the opportunity to contact Pinkham Notch Camp to cancelled my reservations for Mizpah hut this evening that I had made earlier. I then scheduled a spot at Lake of the Clouds Hut for tomorrow night. That night I heard about a black thru-hiker named Winston Lumsdon, who was headed south on the trail. He was described as quite a character, and was the first African-American long distance hiker that I had ever heard of. Kathy had left her camera at Madison Hut, a hut that I had not even reached yet. Apparently they were not hiking in a "straight down the trail in one direction" kind of hike. I guess that is how they ended up being ahead of me.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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