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July 16, 1983 Saturday (1006 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

The trail dipped into the valley between Sharp Mountain and Second Mountain, crossing the later in a gap along the ridge, and then descended toward a small grocery store in a spread out, small town called Green Point. We had only traveled four miles this morning before arriving at the store, but since it was there…. We all stopped and bought something. I ate a pint of Tin Roof ice cream, a flavor I had never experienced before. I described the taste as "real good."

While we were at the store I discovered why the group I had just caught up with last night had been traveling together for such a long time, they were nuts - but sure knew how to have a good time. Everyone broke out their cameras and began taking pictures of each other - It was "Camera Wars!"

I drank an A&W rootbeer before continuing on toward Swatara Gap, where the Swatara Creek cuts through Blue Mountain. After crossing under interstate 81, the trail crossed the creek on an old iron bridge before beginning the nearly 1000 foot ascent of Blue Mountain. The ascent lasted for about two miles and then leveled off and followed the crest for the remainder of the day. The Pennsylvanian rocks encountered here I would describe as numerous, covering the trail almost everywhere, either as large rocky piles of boulders, or beds of loose, small flat slabs ready to slide from under your feet, or at times protruding from the ground at an angle of about 45 - 90 degrees with their edges ready to cut into the side of your boot. The trail seemed to be poorly maintained. The rocks were one thing, but the vegetation posed another threat - the threat of having your exposed thighs and lower legs cut and scraped by the numerous briers that were growing over the footpath and had not been cleared. My legs experienced the sting of the initial contact and then again as the salt in my sweat ran down my legs during the heat of the afternoon. This seemed like the longest and hardest day yet. Hot and muggy.

After twenty-one miles I arrived at an intensely cold, spring fed pond near Schubert's Gap, where I washed my sore legs and soaked my feet in the "freezing" water. There was a rope suspended over the water that people, apparently mostly locals, were swinging out over the water and jumping from. Upon entering the water, their immediate reaction was to exit as fast as they could. The water was just that cold. I set up camp a little below the dam, and was comforted by a cool breeze that came off the pond and over the dam to the "hollow" where I was located. I believe today was the day that I met "The Three Doberman's," a pair of hiking female nurses named Mary Kancevitch & Deborah Tag accompanied by their Doberman Pincer. There was no way that these women could be approached along the trail without being detected by their dog. It did not discriminate. Anyone getting near would set off a volley of barking that would alert them of any potential threat.

*Just a note for those who have their monitors set to 800 x 600 - you are missing almost one third of the image at the top using your current setting. Changing to 1024 x 768 will reveal Fuzzy Jim in true character on this page and other things on other days pages. To change, go to start > settings > control panel > display > settings.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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