Latest Entry
Latest Chapter
All Chapters
Landmark Entries
'97 Trail Journal























The First Crossing
Ga. / N.C. Border
April 1, 1997

Day 36: April 28, 1997
Camping somewhere north of Watauga Dam

Better today. Did about 18-19 miles, I think. Lipton and I got a ride into Hampton for the Chinese buffet which we found to be out of business. So the guy who picked us up, Fruitcake's husband, took us into Elizabethton for ATM money for Subway.

12" meatball, chips, and three cookies. Don't want a repeat of yesterday. We were trying to make it to Vanderventer Shelter. I found a tent spot and dropped about three miles from it. Lipton went on. This'll be my first night tenting alone — ever. Odd after a month on the AT. Still planning on at least a week or so off for the Promax conference, then will decide... but work on the Sugar Shack looks real good.


Day 37: April 29, 1997
Camping near US 421

17.7 miles from Damascus. Another low energy day.

OH... first... huge thunderstorm last night. I was camped on a ridge with aluminum tent poles wrapped around me, which I decided wasn't the smartest place to be. So after some bolts hit less than a miles away I quickly donned my rain gear and walked downhill about 150 yards to ride out the storm. Just stood in the rain for about 20 minutes, but stayed dry. The storm passed and I went to bed.

Today was awfully painful. First 17 miles hurt... just no energy. But finally after dinner, the last three miles... to make 20, were fine. Who knows. Gonna hurry to Damascus tomorrow and try to make it in for lunch.


Day 38: April 30, 1997
The Place— Damascus, Virginia

Woke up to a wet tent, but no rain overnight. Weird. Too much water to be condensation.

Not a lot of climbing, but way more than any map suggested. Absolutely flew... practically ran into town. Probably averaged over three miles an hour. Did almost four miles in fifty minutes. That's just way too fast. Got to "The Place," showered, laid the tent in the sun, and went to eat. Breeze, Lipton and I split a large and medium pizza. I added a grilled cheese plus a glorious apple turnover with ice cream. Incredible! Total bill: $50.30.

Mom came by and we went to Bristol. Ate at Damon's. Great to drive a car and see highways again. Feeling better. Day off tomorrow should improve things. Still gonna get off around the 25th or so for Promax. Gonna figure out how far I can go before then. Lazy day off tomorrow.


Day 39: May 1, 1997
The Place—Damascus, Virginia

Way late being written.

Lazy day in Damascus. I did laundry but forgot to do my wool socks... ugh. Got a ride into Abingdon for ATM and Supermarket. Had Starburst Jelly Beans at Lowe Foods next to Abingdon High School. Bought beer and Lipton suggested a green (yellow and blue make green) blaze trip to Schenectady for a big party at Union College, which seemed like a good idea. Called Amtrak, Greyhound, but decided on renting a car or taking my car. Called Dad to leave the keys out because we might hitch to Martinsville. Bad idea. So far it's me, Lipton and Gugg going.


Day 40: May 2, 1997
Lipton's Apartment—Schenectady, New York

Up early, called rental places and decided to rent a car. Got a ride to Bristol, Tennessee and Enterprise Rent a Car from a hiker who was left with keys to some section hikers' car. Set out on 700 mile trip to Schnectady. Took about 12 hours... swapping driving with Lipton. Got to Schenectady around 11:30 and met Autumn, Lipton's friend, then went to a few bars. Met Mike, one of Lipton's roommates. Oh... called Susan on the way to say "Susan, I'm in a rented car on my way to Schenectady... what are you doing?"

Anyway... "Parmeeshun" John, Lipton's other roommate hooked up with some freshman (he's a senior) and Mike was "very disappointed." "You try to raise them right," he said. Lipton and Mike went looking for John to no avail. Got to bed around 2:30

Oh... on the drive up, Lipton and I had been trying for weeks to think of the Bangels other hit. Out of the blue, somewhere north of Binghamton, I busted out singing "Eternal Flame."


Day 41: May 3, 1997
Lipton's Apartment—Schenectady, New York

Up around nine and off to Cafe Dulche, Lipton's old employer. A coffee shop, obviously. Met lots of his friends. Called Susan and heard she was trying to track down a story about a man who had his penis cut off by a gay lover. What's the deal with Schenectady? Decided to meet her after the show tonight. Back to Lipton's for beers and more friends. Then off to Union College's fairly lame version of Block Party. Made me miss block party and all the college things I left after three years, though.

Saw one band and stood around with Lipton, Gugg and John. Funny how everyone knows everyone at such a small school. Probably has its good and bad sides. Six rolled around and I called Susan. She picked me up and we went to a brew pup in Troy for dinner. Then to "Grandma's" in Albany for dessert. Then home to her place for the night. Pretty tired.


Day 42: May 4, 1997
Lipton's Apartment—Schenectady, New York

Got up with Susan around seven. Had to leave at 7:30 to get her to work on time. Got back to Lipton's and went to bed again. Woke up around 11:00 to hear Gugg never came home last night. Later we learned he'd hooked up with some psycho friend of Lipton's and Lipton was with a girl he'd been scoping for a while till 6:30. This trip was good for the hikers.

Went to Wendy's with Mike, then back to hang with Gugg while the Union guys went their separate ways. We watched the Dukes of Hazzard reunion movie. Goog was recovering from apparently getting absolutely baked last night. Watched news, Simpsons, King of the Hill, X-Files and "So I Married an Ax Murderer." Pretty funny. Decided to head out at 4 in the morning.

Previous Week | Next Week