Appalachian Trail, USA
Great guy, but sometimes way out there. Met him in
Raleigh, then again at Springer. Got ahead of him till he caught
up at Franklin, NC. Hiked with him more often than not for rest
of the trip. Goog thinks way too much. While hiking he thinks about
the Fall of Man, Chaos versus Order, Light versus Darkness, patterns
of nature. Once he told me he'd been thinking of something and asked
me what I thought about while hiking. I responded that I'd just
been thinking about how good jelly beans are.
Goog also has no medium, content-but-not-elated emotional
state. He's either talking about how beautiful and wonderful everything
is, or he's having what we dubbed an "afternoon moment"
where he might be found sitting on the trail lamenting how dumb
a decision it was to hike the trail, how he's just running away
That said, Goog can be very fun to hang out with.
He's got some great jokes, which he tells very excitedly, longwindedly,
and incredibly descriptively. Among the punchlines:
- Where's that bitch that needs her teeth pulled
- He's so important the Pope is driving his limousine.
- The third cowboy said nothing and continued stirring the fire
with his penis.
Met him the second day (3rd?) at Hawk Mountain Shelter.
He and Goog were the only real friends I made out there. All three
of us were 22 when we started. Lipton goes to Union College in Schenectady
and took an independent study class where he took two months to
walk part of the trail, read, and write papers.
For the longest time, we weren't really trying to
stay together. We just had a similar pace. Spent all but two nights
with him after Hawk Mountain. He was a lot of fun to hang out with.
We had similar senses of humor and cracked each other up all the
time. (Slyman smoking Trip, "I am superior to you," and
"Wingfoot, I'm drunk," or variations thereon... see explanations
later) I don't know if it's the endorphins from all the exercise
or what, but everything was funnier on the trail. One particularly
amusing moment... after getting off the trail, a really hungry hiker
calls Wingfoot to say "Wingfoot, you gotta help me. I'm about
to eat my own ass. What can I do?" Like I said, things were
funnier out there.
We hiked together a lot of the time. Normally people
didn't do that, but I think we could because we both knew when to
shut up and just walk. If either of us had talked all the time,
it'd've been torture. He was a lot of fun... one of the few people
I felt like I didn't have to try real hard to relate to.
Quite a character. Also met him at Hawk Mountain.
Where to begin? Here's a chronology of his life as best as I recall:
- Graduated from Notre Dame with degree in English and Astrophysics
- Worked for Air Force Space Command running satellites
- Toured with the Grateful Dead selling pasta in the parking lot
- Managed a restaurant in Atlanta while writing a novel
- Hiked the Appalachian Trail
What made this guy so funny was that you never
knew what was gonna come out of his mouth next. One great story
that I assume was a joke: "I used to be a porno star. I was
the guy they called when they needed someone with a real small tool
for everyone to laugh at." He wore these thick Buddy Holly
glasses, so he couldn't see anything in the rain, so he was always
looking around, real pissed off when it rained. He spent an extra
day in Fontana and never caught up till Damascus. Saw him briefly
in Hot Springs.
Lipton, Hidalgo and I were talking about
when pornos take names of regular movies and make them dirty. A
few days later at the Blueberry Patch, someone mentioned the movie
Dr. Strangelove. Lipton and I separately remembered the name
Dr. Strangepenis for the first time and almost died. One
of the owners of the "Patch" who was very religious was
there, so we couldn't laugh or tell anybody.
"I Am Superior"
Started by Hidalgo when he said he enjoyed passing others
on the trail because it makes him feel superior. Also, Trail Mouse
said he takes pride when he hears other hikers have dropped off.
So anytime you're doing well, "I am superior to you."
"Too Cute for Words"
Another that may have been funnier on the trail that off.
Just after the Blueberry Patch, talking to Hidalgo, he said Blind
Faith and Amazing Grace were pressing wildflowers they had found.
"Isn't that just too cute for words," he said.
Tripp and Slyman were two middle-aged guys from
West Virginia. Sly smoked all the time. One cold morning,
I saw just a cigarette sticking up out of his sleeping bag. As we
crossed the road at Roan Mountain, TN... at the turnoff to Banner
Elk... we were waiting for a ride to Elk Park to eat dinner. We
saw smoke coming from a valley below. Lipton, Breeze and I were
there and Lipton said "Tripp and Slyman are trying to smoke
a tree." I said "No, Slyman's actually smoking Tripp"
Lipton and I laughed periodically about that for the
rest of the trail. Things were funnier out there.