June 6, 1983 Monday (1771.7 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
was a very strange day for culinary delights along the trail. Once again, we started
the day off with a freeze dried dinner. This time the entre was chicken-a-la-king
along with some gorp. Gorp is the hikers best friend and supplies many of the
calories that the hiker needs for the grueling day after day of hiking. It is
made of good wholesome foods starting off with Granola, Raisins, and Peanuts,
and finishes with as much M&Ms, and other candy and nuts as you can stand.
After a while my gorp became just M&M's (plain and peanut), and Reese's Pieces.
Who needs all that healthy stuff? It was a beautiful day as we continued on over
the bald country. A shroud of clouds hung in the valleys as we marched over the
open grassy terrain up one mountain and then descending, and then up to the summit
of Little Hump Mountain. After Little Hump came Hump Mountain, one of the nicest
balds in the area - one big grass covered mountain. In this particular area of
the trail the footway occasionally follows what appear to be jeep tracks, or at
least the leftovers of old roads mostly grown over by grass, but still evident
with the remnants of two parallel depressions about as far apart from one another
as a set of vehicle tires. Upon reaching Doll Flats, a major relocation began
that would prove to be difficult to travel on due to its fresh installation, and
recent rain. The guidebook indicated a grocery store at the next road crossing
where US 19 crosses the trail. The one good thing about the relocation seemed
to be that it brought us closer to the store than if we had taken the previous
route. We had only to walk about a mile to the store rather than the 2.4 miles
before the relocation had gone into effect. We thanked the trail crews in our
imginations for the shortcut and soon stepped out onto the shoulder of the road
and began our treck to our resupply point in Elk Park, North Carolina. Most new
relocations are not welcome. We of course stuck our thumbs out at every potential
ride that happened to be going in our direction, but had no luck until just as
we caught sight of the store. At that time someone pulled over to offer us a ride,
but we declined since the store was just a few yards away. We bought $45.00 worth
of groceries between us (my portion coming to $21.00) Along with the groceries
we discovered that the store also carried A & W Rootbeer in cans. Well, that
was all the tempting we needed to convince us to buy three cans, and a half gallon
of vanilla ice cream for rootbeer floats! We opened up the cook kit got out the
pots and mixed up mammoth floats the likes of which have probably never been seen
there since - one quart of ice cream and 18 ounces (three cans) of rootbeer each!
It began to rain as we were enjoying our folly at the store, and just as
it quit we were offered a ride back to the trailhead by someone going that way.
Jim had been on the phone talking to his parents, so I interupted him with a quick,
"let's go, we got a ride" and off we went. Still part of the relocation,
the next few miles of the trail were some of the nastiest trail I have ever been
on. This part was not welcome. Initially as we entered onto the trail just past
the road, I lost my footing perhaps due to the extra weight that we were now carrying.
The trailside conditions were also responsible since the rain had softened and
lubricated the earth. I took a tumble and came out of it with a scraped right
knee. Having survived that fall, we continued on the relocation that took us through
muck and mire that at times could be as deep as eight inches! There was a time
when I thought we had gotten lost and somehow were on our way back toward US 19,
but continuing on, we eventually made it to Don Nelan shelter sometime before
four pm. Dennis, Ron, and Cathy were there before us and had successfully kept
other hikers from occupying the shelter so we would have a place for the night.
Good thing too, since the weather seemed threatening. I washed up my knee in the
ice cold stream nearby, and then relaxed for a while before beginning with the
evenings ritual of supper preparation. With only five miles between the road and
its grocery store, it is my feeling that this should be taken advantage of, so
tonight Jim and I fried up the pound of bacon and one dozen eggs that we carried
with us to the shelter - and we still had a pound of pork sausage for the morning!
Life can be good on the trail at times.
old shelter register was being passed around that was basically fully completed
after Dennis Hill made his entry. I latched onto the copy and saved it for posterity.
All the entries can be seen by clicking
here. The register includes a large majority of those who hiked in 1983.
The shelter was crowded that evening as even more hikers showed up. A man
named Bill Wiggins stayed there also. I don't recall how many actually stayed
in the shelter, but most shelters hold from eight to ten people, but larger numbers
have been known to sandwich themselves in, especially on a cold rainy evening.
We had arrived at the shelter mostly dry except for the swamp muck that covered
our lower legs. Soon after we arrived we experienced a nice little shower. The
whole night was kind of damp, the kind of weather where nothing dries, and you
have to get up the next morning and put those wet, filthy wool socks back on
and slip your feet into those cold clammy hiking boots. Sometimes, particularly
in the Smokies, we used to try to dry our socks out by setting them next to the
fire, if someone had built one. I don't think this was the best thing for the
socks, but at least your feet felt a little dry for the first few minutes of the
hike that day. It does not have to be raining the day after to totally soak your
feet once again. A heavy dew does just as good a job, sometimes better.
Combined with what Jim spent, for the twenty one dollars I spent at the store
I also came back with Mac & Cheese, two Lipton's Noodles and Sauce dinners,
peanut butter and jelly, four candy bars, cookies, a box of pop tarts, peaches,
M& M's, two instant puddings, milk, oatmeal cakes, instant oatmeal, bread,
pancakes and syrup, along with the ice cream and sodas, bacon and eggs, and pork
Nice temperature, Not too cool.
I did not talk with anyone at home at the payphone, Mom went to the post office
today and sent out a parcel to Atkins, Virginia - cost $2.94 - (see
Trail Journals ©1983