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[at-l] Gypsy's Journal - Vol 14

[Sunday, May 25 - Punchbowl Shelter]
When I headed toward Wildwood Campground yesterday I didn't even know if
there would be tent space for me on this holiday weekend. The owner found
me a site adjacent to two families who were together - Torsten and Carol
Peterson and their daughters, and Hank and Peggy Graeser. These people
were so kind as to invite me over to chat during the afternoon and then to
have supper with them. I did and the companionship and food were
wonderful. It lifted my spirits when I really needed a lift. They are the
kind of people who make you a better person just for having known them,
and I thank them sincerely.

I left this morning at 8am along with two southbound hikers. We were given
a ride to the trailhead by owner, Ed Villafranca. The hike today was
mostly uphill, three long climbs. I was exhausted when I arrived at the
Punchbowl Shelter at 2:30pm and just couldn't go on. It's been warm and
humid today - supposed to rain. Threatening clouds appeared and
disappeared all day, and it was foggy every time I reached a summit with a
view. There is a pond here by the shelter, and already the frogs are
singing. I'll probably here them all night.

[Monday, May 26 - Brown Mt. Creek Shelter]
The bullfrogs kept me awake most of the night and the rain began early in
the morning. At the shelter were Sorefoot, Papa Smurf and Flower and two
fellows from nearby Buena Vista who were hiking for the weekend. I hiked
the 8.8 miles to Brown Mt. Creek Shelter in pouring rain and decided to
stop for the day - at 12 noon! Everything I have is wet and, of course,
Smoky's dog pack was completely soaked. It seems almost un-American to
stop this early, but I'm beyond caring - to say nothing of cold! A change
into somewhat dryer clothes helped, but this is the first time my boots
have been so soaked and they probably won't dry by morning. 

I was really happy to see Stringer come along. I hadn't seen him since
Woodhole and the wonderful breakfast at Tillie Wood's. Then, Skydiver
arrived and Audry, a girl from Colorado who is in the area on vacation.

[Tuesday, May 27 - Seely Woodsworth Shelter]
It sprinkled this morning, but stopped almost immediately. The cloudy sky
lasted most of the day with the sun shining only briefly. After hiking 2
miles I came to a road crossing and met  Mr. Ed Williams, an AT "Trail
Angel". He pulled up into a small picnic area in his van, with snacks,
cold drinks and coffee. He told me he and his wife go out to the trail
crossings twice a day to meet the thru-hikers, and sometimes offers a
hiker in need a place to stay for the night. Last night, his wife made
lasagna and they took it to the hikers at one of the nearby shelters. It's
amazing how many people there are who offer help and comfort with nothing
expected or asked in return. This country is full of truly wonderful, kind
people, but we never hear much about them.

There were several good climbs today, and some great views from the bald
on Cold Mt. I stopped at Seely Woodsworth Shelter after about 15.5 miles.
Along the way I met a southbounder, the Italian Stallion, who called
himself the "Connecticut Yankee". I'm not sure if he's section hiking, but
considering the time of year - he probably is. (Most southbound
thru-hikers don't start before May or June)

[Wednesday, May 28 - Tye River]
Skydiver and I were the sole occupants of the shelter last night. A '92
thru-hiker, Squirrel, and another hiker, Stephanie, were taking a break
when I arrived. Squirrel offered some very good info on adjusting my pack.
I took his advice today and had no serious problems. He also encouraged me
to quit worrying about mileage and do what's comfortable for me, to take
more "pack off" breaks, and to keep on hiking.

There were some beautiful views today and moderate trail. I had lunch at
The Priest Shelter. The descent off the The Priest was long, steep and
rocky. I walked the road into Tyro (about 1.5 miles) to get groceries to
last until Waynesboro. As I was ready to leave, Trail Angel Ed Williams
spotted my pack outside the store and stopped to give me a ride back to
the trail. God bless him!  I crossed the "Bridge over the River Tye", a
foot bridge, and set up my tent on the other side. I'm not completely
comfortable being so close to a road, but don't think I could have gone
another 2.6 miles uphill to the next shelter. Tonight is supposed to be
clear and cold, so I'll need shelters for the next couple of nights.

As I was hiking up the trail today I met 3 oncoming hikers who said they
were out for a weeks hike. One of them said to me, "You're on Trailplace,
aren't you? I recognize Smoky." Not a word about recognizing me!

I passed the 800 mile mark today - have hiked 806 miles so far.

After I set up my tent next to the bridge, Stringer came along and decided
to camp nearby. He left his pack and went into Tyro for supplies; brought
me back a pint of ice cream, and we split a six pack of beer. It was a
pleasant evening.

[Thursday, May 29 - Unnamed area near Humpback Mt.]
Stringer left early - heading for "Rusty's Hard Times Hollow", and me --
for as far as I could hike. Smoky wouldn't be allowed at Rusty's so it's
out for me. I had blisters on my feet from yesterday's rocky paths, so
what did I walk on most of the day? Rocks! It's bad enough when the trail
is on a rocky footpath, worse when you have to cross rock falls -
mid-sized boulders. But towards the end of the day the trail went up and
over huge boulders, for what reason I can't fathom. If the trail planners
wanted to provide that thrill (climbing huge rocks) it should be an
option, but the main trail should be around it. Smoky can't climb with a
pack on so I must carry it for him. It's tough enough for me with my pack.
I don't get any satisfaction in scaling huge rocks - I don't mind heights
as long as I can stay far enough away from the edge. At any rate, my
language would have made a sailor blush. I was really mad, so when I came
to a spot in the trail where a blue blazed trail veered off - wide enough
to set up my tent - I did! There's enough room for someone to pass by. I
set up my stove just outside, but I ate in the tent. Now I have drips and
crumbs all over.

The forecast calls for rain tonight (it's been overcast all day) and I
sure hope it holds off, because I hate to pack up in the rain and don't
want to carry a heavy, wet tent the 10 or 11 miles to Rockfish Gap.
Speaking of Rockfish Gap, those of you old enough to remember the
"Waltons" (who were always going to Rockfish for something) what were the
kids names on the show? I can remember John Boy, Mary Ellen, Jim Bob, and
Elizabeth. I sure there were more, but can't remember their names.


    milt webb - iq software corporation - 3295 river exchange drive
     norcross, georgia usa 30092 - 770/446-8880x245 - www.iqsc.com

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