1, 1983 Friday (1312.8 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
up a little later today following a good nights sleep on the mattresses
that were available for our use. Ate a nectarine for breakfast and
later engulfed a salad sandwich invented by Rusty. Rusty went out
of his way to make us feel welcome. He gave me a ride out to the
Ranger station at the entrance to the Shenandoah National Park where
I got out to begin my hike. He continued on into the park to drop
Tom off a little farther down the trail. A permit is required to
journey through the park, but I had already secured one last night.
I was all set to go. The trail began a tenth of a mile up a hill
to the right.
The trail from there until Jarman Gap, about eight miles farther
down the trail proved to be rough and rocky, and hard to follow.
At Beagle Gap I met two men from Roanoak who gave me two breakfast
bars. I must have looked like I was in need of food, as they gave
me some peanut brittle a little farther on when I met them again.
I arrived at Blackrock Hut much sooner than I had expected. I guess
with the late start, and having to cover almost nineteen miles,
my pace was quickened and I had not realized it. The shelter was
nice, with an extra shelf, in addition to the main platform, to
hold four more bodies. This evening, those spots would not be needed.
The weather looked threatening and I had little to do, so I gathered
some firewood before the big downpour set in. I sat around and ate
cookies that I had packed and arranged all of my edible goods into
one plastic bag and inserted it into my nylon foodbag. With all
my goodies in the bag, I went out to the "bear pole" and
shimmied up the pole to hang them from the upper hooks. Here, as
in the Smokies, there are bears. There are no wires in fronts to
the shelters to keep the bears from your food like in the Smokies;
however, the site is equipped with tall poles with a few spikes
at the top as a place to store your food safely out of the bear's
reach. If a park ranger catches you not hanging your food, you may
get a fine.
a fire just before darkness arrived. I had expected another hiker
to stay at the shelter tonight, but that was not to happen, the
night would be spent solo for the first time on the trip. I
had traveled about 825 miles and been on the trail for 48 days,
and this was the first time I would be alone at night. I think that
is why I started the fire. It provided a little security and light
to keep me company until I fell asleep. Saw another wild turkey
today, this one was on Bear Den Mountain.
though in just a few days I would be seeing my folks, my Mom went
to the post office this morning back in Illinois to send off a care
package to Harpers Ferry. The contents were not needed until then,
and if she would have given it to me when we met in a few days,
I would have to carry a bunch of stuff I did not need at that time.
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983