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May 20, 1983 - Friday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Up at six o'clock this morning. The morning was damp from the rain. Some truckers rolled in just as we were getting up and about. I guess that after a long serious climb in a big rig, the lot is a great place to give the engine a rest and see what excitement they can find before they begin the break-burning descent into the valley below. A gap, such as Dick's Creek Gap, is a southern term used to indicate a low spot between two mountains. Out west it may be known as a pass. They asked us if we were from Michigan since there was a car in the lot that had michigan plates. Well I guess if we were from Michigan we probably would have spent the night in our car, or driven down to the closest town to escape the nasty dampness that filled the air last night. But we were just two guys, the Biumvirate Pedestrian League, on a leisurely stroll from Georgia to Maine via the Appalachian Trail.

It took us about an hour and a half to get rolling this morning. This I have found to be the direct result of having to tent in the rain. It is so much easier to get up and get going when starting from a trail shelter than from a wet tent. Not only that, but your pack weight goes up due to having to roll up your tent with added water weight. We set out on the trail and within a couple of hours passed by Plumb Orchard Gap and the side trail that led down to Plumb Orchard Shelter to our right. I remember the last time I stayed at Plumb Orchard Gap Shelter and met a man named John Smart. He told me that during the night he had awoke and looked out the front of the shelter and saw a procession of glow worms working their way from one place to another. It must have been quite a sight. We took a break at the junction that led to the right - down to the shelter. I ventured down to the shelter to relive the old memory of spending the night listening to harmonica and flute music provided by the talented Pennsylvanian.
Later, Jim and I moved on towards the first milestone on our trip to Maine, the state line between Georgia and North Carolina. We ate lunch at the state line in Bly Gap next to a knarly old tree that marked the boundary and the conquest of the first state completed. Only thirteen more states and many more miles to go! We met a fellow hiker from Texas while we took our lunch break. Lunch was a welcome relief, having come 8.7 miles from Dick's Creek Gap in about five hours.

After lunch we traveled on toward Standing Indian Lean-to. Along the way we passed by an interesting shelter different from any other shelter on the trial so far. It was an "A" frame shelter situated in a nice rhododendron thicket. We passed right on by and did not check the place out. We arrived at Standing Indian Shelter about 5:15 pm. This area of the trail has some of the more interesting names for side trails, nearby mountains, and gaps such as "The Chunky Gal trail leading to Chunky Gal Mountain, Pickin's Nose (a nearby mountain) or Low Gap and Deep Gap - of which there are several.

Tom, another hiker from New York, pulled in a little after we had arrived. He figured that we must have passed him at Muskrat Creek Shelter while he caught a few Z's. For supper this evening we had mushroom soup and instant pistachio pudding for dessert. Tom donated four packs of instant oatmeal to our food supply because he said he would never eat it - it was regular flavor. The only way I could eat it is to combine it with one of our special flavored packs, so we accepted the extra food. Food is food out here after a while for most hikers, and I am one of them. We spent the remainder of the evening listening to tunes and talking with our new friend Tom.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
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