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Aug 7 , 1983 Sunday (612.5 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Very short day today of only 6.6 miles. Not that the blister was causing problems or anything like that. I had arrived in Dalton, Massachusetts, where the community center was available to hikers as a place to sleep and clean up. I ran into a couple more southbounders along the road walk into Dalton and got the scoop on the place. Dalton is a good sized town compared to the majority of towns along the trail, and I was confused a bit on how to get to the community center once I had reached the city. I found the place with the help of a cyclist that was passing by who was kind enough to give me directions. Upon arriving at the center, I checked in, got a key, a towel and soap, and proceeded to take a shower. The center is always locked to keep out the "Riff-Raff", hence the need for a key. None of the small towns worried about this type of problem.

Once I had washed off all the dirt and most of the odor, I put on my "finest duds" and hitched into the nearby town of Coltsville to do some shopping. I carried a "town shirt" that was a button down short sleeved shirt with an A.T. patch sewn onto the left shoulder just to let everyone know I had come from the trail. I imagine that they probably had that figured out from the long scraggly beard, shorts, wool socks and hiking boots that I also wore. And of course there was the smell of a real man - one who had not used deodorant for months.

The Coltsville Mall had a Bonanza restaurant where I immediately stopped for the AYCE (all you can eat) salad, soup and ice cream bars. I made sure that they had some sort of rootbeer on tap that I could make floats with - as if not having any would really have stopped me from eating there. The whole place had their eyes trained on me after they saw me start to shovel it in...

After eating my fill, I went to a nearby store where I bought a GE Walkman, I thought it might be nice to have a few tunes to listen to before I retired each night. I had not had the chance to do that since Jim left the trail back on June 23rd. The next stop was at a grocery store to pick up a few items to eat tonight and tomorrow morning. After that, I picked out a spot along the road, and stuck out my thumb for the hitch back to Dalton. I secured a ride from two guys who were waiting for another hiker known as "Sister Spott." The ride was not that far, so they took me to the community center and then returned to wait once again.

Laying around the rest of the afternoon got me nervous again, so when I heard that the "K-Team" was planning on hiking out tomorrow, I decided I would go too. I was expecting mail in Cheshire, but thought I would get there before it did, so I figured when I arrived at Cheshire I would leave a forwarding note for the postmaster indicating where any mail that had not reached my scheduled mail drop by the time I arrived should be sent. I called and talked with my friend David Giger for a while this afternoon and spent the remainder of the time just hanging out. Later on "Fish", and "The Awesome Robots" came to spend the night as did Dianne Spott and Pat Guthrie. While in Dalton, I met a lot of new people I had caught up to, but felt I already knew from reading the registers, and knew that tomorrow I would leave them while they rested and I trudged on toward my goal.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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