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July 10, 1983 Sunday (1133.2 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

What a day today! Interesting and entertaining!

I said good-bye to Greg and John, and his sleeping friend Zak as I left Pine Knob Shelter on trail that proved to be nothing really spectacular, but sometimes quite rocky. Met several people heading south. That was good, as long as they were not going my way. About ten miles down the trail I reached an area known as Buzzard Knob. Although I never mentioned it in my journal, I scribbled a note in my data book next to the entry identifying it. Only one word was written: "Sucked!!!" That summed it up.

Anticipating a good view from High Rock, I continued on past one shelter that I thought was Devils Race Course Shelter, and then past the one that actually was Devils Race Course Shelter before I took lunch. I even passed up a huge black snake that would have fed several hikers. I stopped only for a picture of the reptile. Not until I had gone fifteen miles and reached High Rock did I stop for lunch. High Rock was populated by quite a group of people, some who were just waiting to jump from the cliff. This particular spot was known for hang gliding, and today was a great day to fly, or at least watch in my case. Off to the side were parked several hang gliders waiting their turn to launch. I watched as one guy jumped and glided safely to the patchwork ground far below. They seemed to judge the wind by watching the trees below for some action in the leaves caused by advancing wind. I ate some crackers and cheese as I watched the gliders. Danny, one of the pilots, gave me a cold orange juice. I must have spent about two hours up there watching and waiting for the next pilot to launch. I talked with several people while on High Rock, they were just as intrigued by long distance hikers as I was with hang gliding.

The trail dropped off the edge of the High Rock ridge following a rough and rocky trail over a recent relocation that took the trail off of the road down to Pen Mar Park; however, the trail still passed though Pen Mar park after about two and a half miles of descent. I was surprised to find the park packed with people and a big band in a nearby pavilion playing dance music. I wandered over to the concession stand and purchased a coke, an ice cream sandwich, and a sloppy joe sandwich. At a public payphone, I tried to call Dave Szabo, but got no answer. While I was enjoying my meal, an older guy that I had seen on High Rock tapped me on the shoulder and told me to come with him to their picnic table. They offered me lots of food and drink from their Sunday afternoon picnic outing. There was fresh fruit, fruit salad, fried chicken, carrots, cheeseburgers, cookies, Mountain Dew, lemonade, potato salad, etc. Their hospitality was astounding. They had seen me at High Rock eating my crackers and cheese and thought that was not enough. They raced down the road after they saw me begin my descent to the park and decided to invite me when I had reached the park. The food was great and I even did some polka and jitterbug dances. I must have turned peoples heads when they saw me with my hiking boots and shorts, and my scraggly beard as I danced with Linda Davis from Greencastle, PA. A good time was had by all that day. Before I left they loaded me down with extra goodies for the evening. I also walked out of the park with a gallon of water in my pack as I left Maryland and entered Pennsylvania. I walked another couple of miles carrying that gallon of water to Mackie Run Shelter. The word was out that the shelter had no water, and that the drought in Pennsylvania had dried up many of the springs along the trail.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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