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July 19, 1983 Tuesday (961.6 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Inspired by last nights announcement by Mark and Marcel of their plan of getting up before light and hiking as soon as you were able to see, we all decided to do the same in hopes of hiking the majority of the miles in the morning and then relaxing as the afternoon heat set in. We all got up at 4:30 am and I set out with Mark and Marcel, but soon Marcel and I dropped back as Mark moved out. My knee was still giving me some problems, so I began popping aspirins in large amounts in hopes of relieving the pain. Marcel said his ankle was hurting as well. Was the rock monster responsible for this? Would it claim another two victims? Time would tell.

Three miles beyond the shelter, I stopped at Pulpit Rock, which provided a good view, but for some unknown reason, I passed on the view from the Pinnacle two miles later. The Pinnacle was only 80 meters off the trail, it wasn't that far. The heat must have gotten to me and impaired my judgment. The trail began a long five-mile descent toward the town of Ekville from that point. Just after the Ekville road crossing, I encountered a rattlesnake on the road in front of a local lady's residence. I killed the snake, which she was grateful for, and cleaned the reptile using water from her garden hose. She gave me a bottle of rubbing alcohol to put the skin in to preserve it until I was able to send it home.

The trail then went back up to the crest of Blue Mountain, and followed it once again. I passed on the side trail to Hawk Mountain, a place I would like to see during the hawk migration, and continued on to Allentown Shelter. I bopped into the shelter early (as expected), and walked the long, but fortunately not too steep or rocky path to the spring to get stocked up. I filled the water sack that I carried with about a gallon of water from the spring so I would not have to return tomorrow morning before setting out. After everyone else arrived, I fried up the snake. Its large size allowed everyone to have a piece. That evening Roving Mike showed up and brought a case of beer, and then decided that he would meet us again at the next shelter tomorrow, with a real picnic. A large group of youngsters came by and camped somewhere near the spring. Much later some southbounders stumbled in accompanied with the sound of clanking bottles of beer, and woke everyone up. They had been drinking at the Bavarian Inn that we would pass in the morning.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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