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May 17, 1983 Tuesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Slept well last night, perhaps the fatigue of an almost 16 mile day had caught up to me. This time the alarm woke me up at 6:30 am. Today was the beginning of the typical breakfast on the AT - oatmeal. Instant oatmeal that is, and surely not the plain flavor! Brown sugar, apples and cinnamon, or anything other than plain. Even for the calorie starved hungry hiker, plain oatmeal can hardly be stomached unless doctored up in some way with loads of sugar, or mixing in a bag of some flavored variety. Instant oatmeal is light, and has somewhat of a "stick to the ribs" desireability, is readily available along the trail side stores, and is therefore a staple breakfast.

We covered four miles rather quickly to Woody Gap with Jim leading the pack, followed by Rich, and me bringing up the rear. The rest of the day seemed rather slow. We stopped quite often even though Jim's blisters and his leg seemed to be doing somewhat better. Although the weather was somewhat overcast in the morning, the remainder of the day was pleasant, and we had good views from the ridge on Ramrock Mtn, and Big Cedar Mountain. Lunch consisted of Cheese and Sardines. Boy, Jim and I must have been packing heavy with all that solid food. This was a luxury that was soon to come to an end.

The last part of the day was a long, but not necessarily steep ascent to the summit of Blood Mountain, supposedly named by the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee legend states that in a particularly bloody battle fought on the mountain, the mountain flowed with the blood of the dead and injured, and thus the name. Tonight's entrée became one of our staples and consisted of a Lipton's Noodles and Sauce dinner of Sour Cream and Chives flavor. We tried a sugar free lemonade mix today that we found quite agreeable when added to our water. Typically we did not treat our water in any way. Although I may have carried some iodine tablets, I felt confident that the water was safe. If attention is paid to the surroundings, and there is nothing above the source such as farmland or settlements of any kind, and water is taken directly as it comes out of the ground as a spring, I have not had any problems.

Blood Mountain Shelter was an excellent place to end the day. From a nearby rock one can see almost 360 degrees. The sunset from our vantage point was but a haze. The disadvantage of staying at the shelter is that there is no water there; water must be carried from the last water source about a mile to the south, a place called Slaughter Gap. We carried enough for the night, and breakfast in the morning. The interior of the shelter is rather dark, but provides shelter from the elements. My little thermometer indicated temperatures in the sixties during the day, with 45 degrees on Big Cedar Mountain. Windy and cool at night. 12.7 miles for the day.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
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