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[at-l] Gypsy's Journal - Vol 13

Good morning everyone!

Before we get to the Journals I have an update for those wanting to
sendcards and letters to Gypsy via snail-mail. Send all your letters to
her c/o her sister in VA who will forward them in her maildrops. Sounds
like a plan to me. Here's the address.

		M. Manzano
		2300 Pimmit Dr. #205
		Falls Church VA 22043

Now, on the the Journals...-Milt


[Monday, May 19 - Fullhardt Knob Shelter]
Hardcore and I left Troutville at Noon, in about 90F weather, sunny skies
and high humidity. We hiked 5 miles (uphill) to Fullhardt Knob Shelter to
find that the water source, which was a half mile up the trail, was on a
"hidden" side trail. After an unsuccessful attempt to locate it I decided
to rest and try again. Hardcore moved on to find water and a tent site
elsewhere. I did go back and found a trickle at the bottom of a steep
trail, then came back to the shelter. I have blisters from my 20 miles
yesterday and didnt want to walk any more today. I was so relieved to find
the water. Smoky (my dog) had used the last drop we were carrying. I think
most people (me included) never give a thought to the blessing of having
clean at the turn of a tap. I do now!

The most interesting thing happened today - we came to a stile which Smoky
couldnt get over and the fence was too new and too tight to lift up. I was
pondering what to do when three young guys came along. One of the picked
up Smoky and cradled him in his arms; he then pass him off to a second guy
who was standing on the top crossbars of the stile; who in turn handed him
to the third fellow standing on the ground on the other side. It was a
beautiful sight!

[Tuesday, May 20 - Bobblets Gap Shelter]
It rained last night and was cloudy all this morning. This afternoon the
skies cleared and it was pretty nice. I 
got to Bobblets Gap Shelter to find a man about 50 there; he called
himself "Bean" and is a self-proclaimed hippie (hed even been to several
Rainbow Gatherings). I didnt know if I should stay or not but since I
didnt get any bad vibes from the man, decided to stay. He turned out to be
an extremely well-read and interesting person. We talked social and
political issues at length, and about countries and places weve been to.

[Wednesday, May 21 - Bryan Ridge Shelter]
Left the shelter shortly after 8am. It turned out to be another perfect
day, weather-wise - low 70s and breezy enough to keep the bugs down. Very
few hikers on the trail. Arrived at Bryan Ridge Shelter to find Bean
there. Hes not actually thru-hiking, but just goes where and when he fells
like it or until his money runs low and he has to work for a while. Im so
curious about Trail Days, but so far havent seen any hikers who were
there. In fact, the only other thru hiker I seen and talked to has been
"Reveille" who was formerly known as "Easy Strider."

[Thursday, May 22 - Thunder Hill Shelter]
It wan an uphill morning - 2200+ foot ascent of Floyd Mt. I had lunch at
Cornelius Creek Shelter where I met Puget Pounder and TewTon (Milts note:
Have been misspelling this as TwoTon) who had been to Trail Days. The
trail has been so quiet lately it will be nice to see hikers again. After
lunch there was a nice walk on a very rocky trail - just to soften up the
feet, and then another long climb up Apple Orchard Mt. I arrived at
Thunder Hill Shelter and found a nice tent site in the rhododendrons near
a boxed spring. At these higher elevations the plants arent yet blooming,
but for the past few days Ive been walking through a profusion of mountain
laurel and rhododendron blossoms, as well as sweetpea, trillium, and
countless other small wildflowers. 

[Friday, May 23 - Matts Creek Shelter]
This was an exquisite day! Fine weather and a pretty decent trail, except
for the couple of obligatory rocky footpaths intended to tenderize (or
pulverize) your feet! The sweet, spicy fragrance of mountain laurel fills
the air and thousands of pink trillium are in bloom. I wouldnt want to be
anywhere else in the world today!   I was sitting at the picnic table at
Matts Creek Shelter this afternoon, trying to decide whether to set up the
tent or stay in the shelter. "Telephone Man" came along and took a quick
break then left to meet his wife who is slackpacking him. Then, two people
came up that I recognized as Hal and Ruth Washington, "Flash and Hot
Flash," 87 thru hikers. We met in November 95 when we hiked a section of
the AOL/Backpacker Mag/ATC tag-team thru hike. Its a small world! It was
great to see them and I hope to run into them again in the central
Shenandoah where they maintain a section of the trail.

You may be wondering about me staying on or leaving the trail. Ive had a
pretty good week weather-wise, feel much better doing lower mileage days,
enjoy looking at the views and smelling the flowers. Smoky seems to be
feeling better, too. I found out through trail and error that my lower
back and knee problems were caused by the cushy insoles. I plan to go on
to Waynesboro where I hope to find some foam rubber and cut it into pads I
can put between my pack and the sore spots, especially on my 99% fat-free
hip bones! The Pur Company has agreed to send me a replacement water
filter in Waynesboro, so by then I should be able to hike through the
Shenandoah. I still hope to get to Maine, but Im not going to do it by
increasing my mileage to the point of being exhausted. If I have to finish
next year then so be it. Meanwhile, Im still Maine-bound, slowly but

[Saturday, Mat 24 - Wildwood Campground]
Hiked the short distance between Matts Creek to the James River and Rt.
501. I thought it wouldnt be too difficult to get a ride the 3.8 miles to
Wildwood Campground. No luck. I was surprised so many pickup trucks passed
me by. Finally, about 2.5 miles down the road a small sporty red car
(oncoming) stopped. The occupants were "Captain Kirk" and "Virginia
Creeper" who hiked in 96, and they had gone to the campground and told the
owner I was walking with the dog. They said to just wait for him to pick
me up. Sure enough, Ed Villafranca came along to give me a ride. I have a
nice tent site with a water faucet and a picnic table! A grocery and take
out food is across the street - I have a headache from eating a pint of
ice cream too fast, but Im not complaining. My clothes and I are clean and
life is good!


Footnote: I received a message from Felix that I'm adding as a footnote
to the Journal...

Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 18:09:16 -0700
From: Felix <AThiker@smithville.net>