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June 7, 1983 Tuesday (1757.2 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Fried up our pound of pork sausage this morning for breakfast. For some reason Jim began to come down with a slight case of diahrea, the "trail trots," the "Hershey squirts," or other quaint names that hikers have for that dreaded illness. The trail presented itself a little better this morning, however our progress was slow. I had no water at all from breakfast time up until lunch time at Moreland Gap shelter. I think it was because I was leary about getting water in this area since most of it was in lower country with water in streams that the guide recommended be purified. No really good springs. Sometimes cattle country. Upon reaching the shelter I tanked up on water, and filled the waterbottle for the afternoon. Some of the other hikers that had stayed with us at the shelter last night arrived at Moreland Gap shelter and began having their lunch just as we neared finishing ours. In situations like this, it pays to get on the ball. It will most likely be a race to the shelter for the night. Even though most hikers carry a tent, as we did, no one really wants to have to set it up, and particularly take it down and pack it up the next morning if it happened to rain that night. Jim and I pushed on before the rest had finished their lunch, and just as Bill Wiggins arrived and reported that he had lost his glasses. Our goal for the night was Laurel Fork Shelter. I wanted to get there to take pictures of the nearby Laurel Falls and also to insure that we would have a space in the shelter. The trail descends into Laurel Gorge and passes directly beside the falls before continuing on for another half of a mile to the shelter. We viewed the falls, but rushed on to secure our spot in the shelter intending to return for pictures later. At the shelter I threw off my pack, grabbed my camera, and headed back to the falls for pictures. I got all set up to shoot a few shots and discovered that the battery had gone dead! Went back to the shelter to get extra batteries, like an idiot, not remembering that they were stored on the camera strap that I had with me the whole time.

There was evidence of inhabitants at the shelter already when we had arrived. We met them when we backtracked to take pictures of the falls. Apparently there was more than one way to get to the falls. There was Wade, Bobby, and Rich, and three others (two of whom were from Switzerland). Wade and Bobby were just out of high school and were probably locals from somewhere nearby. While reading the shelter register, I read about the shelter's other resident, a large rat that supposedly came out at night. So far I had not seen anything like that at a shelter although I had read about rats at shelters in the Smokies. This shelter was close enough to the road and in a popular spot that could draw enough people who were not environmentally conscience enough to take care of their trash. This could support at least one rat I suppose. Going about our business, we cooked up some pancakes, and enjoyed two cans of chunky beef stew, and a couple of peaches that were donated by Bobby. Not wanting to have any rat coming into the shelter after the cans left over from the stew, I tossed them out a few yards in front of the shelter so as not to draw the animals inside. During the night we heard something playing around with the cans, but never figured out what it was. I was visited and annoyed during the night by ants crawling over me now and then - I killed a few.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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