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'97 Trail Journal




















Sunset at the Summit
Blood Mountain, Georgia
March 1997

Day 8: March 31, 1997
The Blueberry Patch— Hiawassee, Georgia

Incredible! Lots of friends from the trail, a real bed, shower, laundry done for you, breakfast... all for $15. I don't deserve this. Got lots of postcards done, called Mom & Dad. Went into Hiawassee (not home to the college) for groceries and dinner. Hitched a ride back... first time for that.

Gary and Lennie bought the blueberry farm five years ago and run an organic farm and hiker hostel. If there are nicer people alive, I haven't met them. Here with Blind Faith, Bones, Brother Paul, Redman, Mr. Lipton and Hidalgo. Gonna try for Muskrat Gap shelter and North Carolina line tomorrow.


Day 9: April 1, 1997
Muskrat Creek Shelter

Great breakfast at the Blueberry Patch. Pancakes, sausage, cheese biscuits. Can't believe how nice Gary and Lennie are. Got a late start on the trial... about 10am. Some hikers Technicolor and Trail Mouse left two Killians on a picnic table at the trailhead. Lipton, Hidalgo, Red and I shared. Red's about 50, always wears red. Really nice guy.

Made it to the North Carolina line this afternoon. Took some pics. Now, if I quit no one can say I didn't even make it out of Georgia. Got to shelter around . About 12 miles... lots of real steep stuff after the North Carolina line. Brother Paul was already here along with Jenny... a 40-or-so year old from South Africa. Nice shelter. Nice dinner. Nice day. Gonna try for Beech Gap and maybe a bit more tomorrow. Right knee gave me some trouble today. Oh, Brother Paul's a Buddhist monk from New Hampshire... traveled through monasteries across the country.


Day 10: April 2, 1997
Camping near Carter Gap Shelter

Only appropriate that I'd be here on Matt's birthday. Couldn't call... guess he understands. Shelter's pretty crappy so I'm camping nearby. Lipton, Hidalgo, Jenny and another guy are here. Having doubts about whether I want to go all the way. I know I can, but I think I'll be getting bored soon. Maybe I'll change my goal to somewhere in Virginia or Harpers Ferry.

Songs I've been humming to pass the time or make it up steep climbs:

  • Star Wars Theme (Imperial March works great on steeps)
  • Dukes of Hazzard
  • America by Simon and Garfunkel
  • Ashokan Farewell
  • Knight Rider
  • St. Elsewhere
  • NBC News Theme
  • End of the World as We Know It by REM
  • Various Olympic themes by John Williams
  • Indiana Jones

I also redesign WRAL's set in my head... including that green laser glass map.


Day 11: April 3, 1997
Rock Gap Shelter

Easy 12 miles here. Another great day. Met Rin and Stimpy... a guy from Philly and a girl from England. Jenny's here too. Oh... get this... Shakespeare's taxi... they run booze into North Georgia's dry counties.

I'm headed into Franklin in the morning. Can't wait to eat, shower and watch TV. Getting dark. May not be as cold tonight.


Day 12: April 4, 1997
Henry's Motel — Franklin, North Carolina

Written a few days late. Great stay in Franklin! lunch at the B&D Restaurant, stopped by outfitters, bought food, beer (Killians!), and got pizza for dinner. Technicolor & Trailmouse are in the next room. Very basic lodging managed managed by friendly, old, and blind Lois Gillespe. A little jamming going on at the B&D that night. A big country hoedown... a for real one where folks from Franklin just get together and get down... not like the fake crap Gatlinburg puts on for yankees. Staying here with Lipton.


Day 13: April 5, 1997
Camping at Licklog Gap

Hiked out of Franklin with Lipton. Nice walk. Met Hidalgo and Gugg along the way. Hidalgo went to Rainbow springs to see his dad. Another Suddenly Salad for dinner. Lots of rain overnight. Saw Stick and Amish Man headed in on our way out.


Day 14: April 6, 1997
A. Rufus Morgan Shelter

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! My only b-day present: rain. Lotsa rain. Didn't stop till around noon. May get a Gore Tex jacket at NOC for my birthday. Headed to NOC for breakfast. Ladybug, Otter, Jason, Gugg, Mr Lipton and Hidalgo are here.

The crazy stuff that goes through your head while hiking 15 miles: a new verse to The Highwayman...

I was a thru-hiker...
fighting the sun and the rain
Walking from Georgia north to Maine.
Two thousand miles above the world I left behind.
With absolutely nothing weighing on my mind.
Just where to eat, to sleep, and where to have some fun.
We were always having fun...

Hey, it entertained me while getting up some long ,steep hills.


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