Appalachian Trail privey

Images from
this date

What You

Progress Map

Other Images

Contact Gonzo!


June 2, 1983 Thursday (1851.4 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Highlights along the trail today included the view from the firetower on Camp Creek Bald, and the climb up a mountain named "Big Butt." On the way up Big Butt the trail follows an old Jeep road that could be tough even for an experienced off road driver. This section of trail was so heavily eroded that the gulleys carved out of the roadway could have practically swallowed a jeep. I began to wonder whether we were actually traveling up the "Crack" of the Big Butt. Soon after our journey through the "Crack," we passed through an area known as the "Ball Ground." Don't ask, I have no idea. Around lunch time, just after the Ball Ground, we encountered a set of gravestones along the trail. I prefer to stop at easily identifiable locations, or places with a view as spots for breaks and lunches. From these gravestones, which were erected in 1915 to mark the graves of two brothers who were killed during the civil war, we could pinpoint the distance that we need to travel to our next stop. We had roughly ten more miles to reach camp. We set out today with an expectation of putting in 19.5 miles or so, but after arriving at an area known as "Big Flat," the spot where a campsite and water was supposed to be - but was not, we moved on to Sam's Gap, an additional 4.4 miles. At the gap, we were expecting to find an abandoned building we could use as a shelter and a grocery store two tenths of a mile down the road from the road crossing. The building was there, but the draw of possible food and beverages pulled us like a magnet as we followed the road down the mountain and found the store to be something more like two miles down the road! After what seemed forever, we found an Exxon gas station with a Soda machine and some groceries. I bought a can of pineapples, two Snickers bars, and one half gallon of Neopolitan ice cream. We hung around the gas station and split the ice cream between us while we contemplated the long uphill roadwalk back to the trail in Sam's Gap. This was some of that extra mileage that neither one of us wanted to tack on to our total. After all, when everything is done, off-trail mileage is not really included in the tally from Georgia to Maine. It is purely extra and counts for nothing. But it did give me a chance to have a quart of ice cream.

I bought two sodas for the road and persuaded a local man who had a bad case of emphysema to give us a ride back to the trail in his car. I guess he could relate to the amount of huffing and puffing that we would have had to endure to hike our way back to the Gap.

At the Gap there was an old building that the "Philosophers Guide" had stated was a possible shelter. "No Trespassing" and "Keep Out" signs decorated the run down building. From the road the building appeared to be inaccessible with each of the windows boarded up. We circled the building, disregarded the warning signs, and searched for an access. We found one spot which allowed entry and quickly ducked inside. Shortly afterwards, a man came and unlocked the building's door and came inside. We froze in the shadows while he did his duty and then left locking the door behind him. Later a younger guy came by and discovered us. We asked him if it was all right for us to spend the night in the building. He did not know, and suggested that we ask the old guy if it was OK. Upon asking, the old man suggested that we stay in an abandoned house just down the road. He said there was a nice spring there as well. We grabbed our gear and set out down the road in the opposite direction from the way we had gone to the gas station. Was this perhaps the abandoned building the guide (#5) was referring to? I think we did not read it thoroughly and having seen the concrete building, thought that was the only building available. Within a few hundred yards around a bend in the road was a great spring and a long abandoned house with rubble, fallen tree limbs and miscellaneous garbage scattered over the floor. All the windows were broken out and sky could be seen through parts of the roof. It appeared that that the place had been like this for quite a while. We assessed the situation, were not really happy with the condition, but cleaned a spot large enough to sleep on and prayed that there would be no rain during the night. Later on we were joined by another group of five hikers known as the "C Company." The extra company gave us someone to talk to, and provided a diversion from the cars that went by on the road that was situated much too close to the front of our "home." For supper, Jim and I had Spaghetti and Meatballs that we had purchased from the store down the other side of the mountain.

Today, at least the later part of the day, I developed a tightness in the tendon and muscle of my lower right calf muscle. I attributed this to the rush to get to Sam's Gap along with the fact that there was a particularly bad section of ups and downs between Devils Gap and Sam's Gap. Sections of the trail today near Big Butt and the Ball Ground bordered what was marked as a bear sanctuary; however, no bears were spotted.

My Mother went to the post office today and sent a package to Damascus at a cost of $3.09 (see postal receipt).

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

NextFrom the Beginning