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June 25, 1983 Saturday (1433.9 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I decided last night to allow myself to enjoy the novelty of the motel bed a little longer the following morning since it was comfortable, and I was paying for it. I also did not want to force George to get up any earlier than he wanted to. I woke up at 6:30 am and ate the raspberries I had picked yesterday along with a jelly sandwich for breakfast. I brushed my teeth, got things packed back into my backpack, said "see ya later at Bobbletts Gap Lean-to", and headed down to the Greenway for one last stop to pick up a couple of those 15 cent ice cream bars that they carried in the freezer. I noticed the ice cream melted rapidly as I ate, yet the bars went down good as I walked and ate. It would be a very hot day today. A short distance after the turnoff leading to the post office, I started hitching and secured a ride to the trail intersection. I must have started walking between 7:30 and 8:00 am and the heat was already becoming intense. My boots stuck to the black tar road as I walked the road out of the area. Bootprints could be seen in the tar as I practically had to pull each step away from the pavement with some effort. Along the way I noticed a 1 ½ foot long rattlesnake that was more than just stuck to the tar, but had been embedded by at least a couple of passing tires. Apparently someone must have stopped to check it out and removed the rattles, there were none. I looked out over a cornfield alongside of the road and noticed that the peaks of only two mountains could be seen rising above the cornstalks. The only thing I could think of was how much it reminded me of a pair of breasts - as if a giant woman were laying somewhere beyond the cornfield. The heat was that intense! I was glad when the roadwalk ended.

It was a nice, sweaty, graded climb up Fulhard's Knob to the shelter located there. I stopped at the shelter for a slight break. While at Fulhard's Knob Shelter, John, Mr. Machismo that we had met back at Lamberts Meadow shelter, came strolling in from the north. Apparently, he had lost his motivation and the twenty-five miles per day were just too much for him. He was thinking about calling it quits*. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my most common trail lunch, and then departed with the feeling that everything was going fine. The area traversed in the last few days is one of the toughtest to overcome as far as mental conditioning is concerned. If you can make it past this hurdle, your chances of becoming one of the few to complete the whole trail are pretty good.

I continued on along a ridgecrest after my break. For five or six miles the trail was mostly on the ridge, dropping down to Wilson Creek before a steady climb back toward the ridge at Blackhorse Gap. A mile or so past the gap I saw the road crossing at Taylor's Mountain overlook. In hopes of trading stories for food, I talked some folks who had driven to the overlook to check out the view. We talked for a little while before moving on to the next overlook. It is customary around this area, all through the area where the A.T. parallels skyline drive and all of it's overlooks, to take on the persona of "Yogi the Bear" and see what you can scavenge from the public. My first attempt was unsuccessful. Moving on, I soon emerged from the woods at Montvail Overlook to find a family eating a picnic there. I put on the charm and was offered a piece of fried chicken and an ice cold coke! Such a deal! From there it was only a couple of miles to Bobbletts Gap Lean-to where I met Scott, a southbound hiker, eating lunch. We swapped info about what was in store for each other in their prospective directions. He almost had me convinced to move on today for another six miles to Cove Mountain Lean-to. It was only three-thirty. I could have made it easy, but I had told George I would meet him at Bobletts Gap Shelter. Much later he finally arrived and I was glad to have the company. Seventeen miles was enough today.

Success rate today for my "yogi-ing" skill - 50%.

*(Note - Feb 26, 2012: I discovered that John Beckstrand's photo shows up in the hiker database in Harpers Ferry taken June 28, only three days later. Apparently he decided to hitch to Harper's Ferry to rejoin his group.)

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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