Butterfly weed

Images from
this date

What You

Progress Map

Other Images

Contact Gonzo!


June 29, 1983 Wednesday (1357 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I was up early today in order to make the twenty-three miles to my next destination at Maupin Field Lean-to. Fairly nice walking most of the way, at least until the summit of The Priest, but no great views to be had from Spy Rock or The Priest due to being mostly overcast and rainy. I met a lot of hikers today for the first time. (Although unrecorded, I found out in 2016 that somewhere between Twin Springs and The Priest, I met a couple of southbounders. Deb Yavorski and her partner Karen Meadows. Deb confirmed, from her journal, that she had met me in this area. She and Karen had begun their southbound journey from Pennsylvania to Springer this summer to complete their 2000-miler after their 1982 southbound hike from Katahdin to Pennsylvania. Then I met a group of trail maintainers working just before the lean-to, and later, Dick Kersten and Peg Jaeger both northbounders from Wisconsin taking a break at The Priest Lean-to, and . I Ate my lunch at the shelter as I visited with Dick and Peg, and watched comfortably from the shelter as the rain fell outside. The rain subsided as I finished off my lunch so I set off for the second half of the day's hike. The downhill from the summit of the Priest was known to be a killer, dropping three thousand feet in just over four miles. I took off down The Priest as fast as I could go, slipping and sliding here and there in the muddy trail made that way by the recent afternoon rain. I was careful; however, since the trail was rocky and slippery in places. The descent bought me down to the Tye River, where the trail crossed the river by utilizing an interesting suspension bridge, one of those kind that you can get really undulating if you set up a good rhythm as you march across. A few miles past the river I chose to take the blue-blazed Mahar Trail which leads left about 1.5 miles to a 40 foot waterfall, and then the same distance to hook up with the Appalachian Trail near Maupin Field Lean-to. I believe that at one time this side trail was the official AT. The Appalachian Trail continued straight ahead up and over an area known as "Three Ridges." This was an area that I had heard horror stories about. It was known to be very tough. Maybe that is why I bypassed it. I really looked foreward to seeing the falls. The entire area was foggy and a continuous mist hung in the air as I passed by the falls which were not as spectacular as I had hoped, but then again I was rushing through trying to get to the shelter before the rain really started to fall. Which it did. Rain falling out of the sky can take the grandeur out of just about any waterfall. The fog was so thick that I had difficulty seeing the blue blazes.

I ran into Pat at the side trail to the Maupin Field shelter just standing there waiting. I believe she was just waiting for one of the people she stayed with the night before to come by and be amazed that she was there before them. I acted indifferent to somewhat disgusted. The blue-blazed alternative to the Appalachian Trail was rough and rocky, and I knew she had not taken that trail. I seriously doubted that she had taken the actual AT either. She probably used her thumb again on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which the trail parallels for many miles in Virginia. At one time the route that the road follows was actually the route that the trail was to follow, but the road lobby won, and the trail had to be relocated. I quickly ducked into the shelter to claim a spot, and found it to be occupied already, but there was room for more. I met Gene Hadlow from Florida, who tried my pack on for size. The rain fell again after I settled in. Dick and Peg arrived a little later on. Then around 11.30 pm, after everyone was settled in, had their supper, and were sleeping for the night, we were rudely awakened by Jody as he pulled into the shelter. I don't know how he could have traveled that section of trail in the dark and in the rain as he had just done. It was an amazing feat! He was happy to have arrived, but not happy with the circumstances. Today was one of the more nasty days out on the trail.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

Next From the Beginning