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Dinnertime
Jerry Cabin Shelter
Spring 1997

Day 22: April 14, 1997
Tri-Corner Knob Shelter— Great Smoky Mountains N.P.

I'm behind. It's actually the 15th. First, an update on the kids from day 20. The two guys showed up, well stocked with whiskey, tequila, weed and acid. They offered up whatever we wanted and we accepted... well, except for the acid. There's a time and place for everything. They stayed up all night having a little party. Didn't bother me nearly as much as the idiots from the night before. Maybe because they're kids and that's what kids do... or maybe because of the gifts they came bearing.

OK, now on to day 22. Was planning to get up at 6:30. The alarm in the motel room went off. My immediate thought: Screw That! I then slept till 8 or so. Got packed, went to Hardees for biscuits and gravy. Got a ride immediately to the Trail and was hiking by 11:00.

Got real cold... teens... last night. Picked a good one to be inside with the heat turned up. Yesterday watched baseball, news, X-Files, Simpsons, King of the Hill, News. Gugg and Amish Man were crosing the gap when I got dropped off. They spent a cold night at a shelter. Oh... bought the walking poles. Wonderful. Best purchase ever. Long live my knees!

Mr. Lipton was at the shelter when I got there. Thought he'd've gone on. He's probably getting poles, too. His knees are misbehaving.

 

Day 23: April 15, 1997
Camping at Painter Branch

20.4 miles today! Not that bad, really. Only thought I was dying twice. Fairly cold morning. Left the Smokies at Davenport Gap and walked 1.5 miles to "Mountain Moma's," a country store place. Had a grilled cheese, personal pizza, cheese fries, two scoops of ice cream, a nuttie buddie, a roll of chewy spree and two Gatorades. Then ate more later. Didn't want to stay, so got a ride with Mr. Lipton from the Ridgerunner, the guy who patrols the AT in the Smokies.

Worn out when I got to camp, but put about half of a big climb behind. I was encouraged today that as a country we're at least smart enough to set aside places like the Smokies, even if we let dumbasses in to wreck them.

 

Day 24: April 16, 1997
Roaring Fork Shelter

Another fairly big day, almost 17 miles. Made it to Max Patch this afternoon... the southern part of which Matt and I were gonna do last year till I got hired in Raleigh. It was beautiful... big grasy summit. Gugg later camped up here and woke up to a few inches of snow. Read for an hour up there and made a pyramid for pix with Mr. Lipton, Latestart, Peaches, Lawnchar, and Breeze. Then a long five flat miles to the shelter.

Ate two ramens, freeze dried dinner, and mac & cheese for dinner. Amazing! Looking forward to short (10 miles) day tomorrow, then into Hot springs early Friday to call Mom and hopefully meet her Friday night. Oh... I think I saw a coyote yesterday. Looked like a big dog... came down off the ridge, stared at me. I yelled at him and he ran off.

 

Day 25: April 17, 1997
Top of Bluff Mountain

Writing at lunch time for a change. Just did four miles in an hour and a half. Not bad. Chilly morning with rain periodically through the night, but beautiful snow farther up into the mountains. Gugg said it was gorgeous on top of Max Patch. he passed us while we got a late start.

Some inconsiderate section hiking bastard snored like you absolutely would not believe. There are light jet aircraft quieter than this guy. What pisses me off is that he knows he does it. Before we went to bed he warned us, then apologized in the morning. Keep the explanations and get your ass in a tent. I got sick of listening to him and took my bag outside, but it started raining around 3am so I had to go back in and endure.

Duckett Inn— Hot springs, North Carolina
Stayed in a tent on Duckett's lawn. Every motel and inn was full. Really comfortable. Changed my mind at the last shelter and decided to come on into town. Mom's gonna come over around 3:00. Gonna go into Johnson City. Kinda excited about that. Staying here another night. Time to activate the surgery channel on the blisters.

 

Day 26: April 18, 1997
Duckett Inn— Hot Springs, North Carolina

Great day. Didn't get too cold last night. Excellent breakfast. Got mail at the post office. This was the first mail drop I'd told family and friends about. Gonna read it later. Did laundry, met Mom and went to Ashville. Went slumming at Red Lobster. Shrimp Feast and seven of those cheese biscuits. Then to the mall for ice cream and a Walkman. Ingels for groceries, then back to the Duckett to find Amish Man here.

Hidalgo and lars are about a half day back, but they're planning on putting in some time here. Hope to see them tomorrow. I'll head out tomorrow. Mr. Lipton probably will, too.

Hot Springs is an odd town. It's pretty much summed up by the Duckett... a funky B&B run by a couple of gay guys in the middle of hillbilly country. It's part crunch / granola / new-age... part redneck. Like a small version of those progressive southern towns like Athens and Oxford without the university. And maybe like a tiny Ashville, come to think of it. And by the way, the guys that run the Duckett are simply fantastic. They get like $75+ a night for their rooms in the summer. For hikers in the spring... about a third of that. How cool of them.

 

Day 27: April 19, 1997
Spring Mountain Shelter

Got out of Hot Springs around noon. Stopped for a peanut butter chocolate milkshake at the cafe before hitting the Trail. Called Matt and left a message. Climb outta town really kicked my butt. Got a bit better an hour in. Shelter was full... had to camp. Met 180, who was at the Duckett for a week. Smiles, Geo. Horrible dinner! Finishing the nasty stuff was the hardest thing I've done since springer!

 

Day 28: April 20, 1997
Jerry Cabin Shelter

Real pissed this morning. Did 3.8 miles in the first hour. Saw Smiles at lunch and walked with her this afternoon. Gugg made cookies and we toasted Smiles' marshmallows over the fire. Great! Then there was an entertaining incident where Gugg physically attacked firewood.

Lipton, Geo, Breeze. Somebody called the privy the "captain's chair" because it's just an open seat in the woods. No walls. You're just sitting there on this thing for the world to see.

 

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