Appalachian Trail Journals 06-21-03

Journals From A 2003 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail (by Loony)

Entry #78 – June 21, 2003

8:55 PM – Definitely not a good day for naked hiking. Yes, that’s right – June 21st is the traditional day to hike naked! Not that we probably would have anyway, but it was only about 45 degrees we were up having breakfast.

Was quite cold – even the hiking wasn’t warming us up much. Didn’t see much wildlife, but it was probably the most interesting day of terrain in the Park. When we stopped for lunch, we heard about a guy who had stolen a car (Mercedes SUV) and drove it off a cliff in the Park. A ranger asked us if we had seen anyone suspicious, or who seemed like they didn’t belong. Andy & I each remembered seeing a different person, but couldn’t figure out if we were talking about the same guy or what. Confusing, but we ended up giving the Ranger a really messed-up description. A mile or two after lunch, we came across the spot where the SUV had gone over. It was lying upside down on the side of the mtn. There was a bunch of “Crime Scene – Do Not Cross” tape over the Trail. But, what were going to do – skip a section? Hell no, and no one was around, so we went through. We fooled around and took a picture. After we came out the other side, a different park person came walking down the hill, and asked us again if we’d seen anyone. But this time Andy & I realized we were talking about 2 different people, but one of them was definitely more suspicious, so we told her all about it.

Rest of the hike was OK. Stopped @ the store @ Thornton Gap for a pop & some candy & to use the restroom. Ooops, forgot the worst/best part of the day. The Trail down to the Gap was quite rocky. Was starting to get tired and stumbly. Hit a rock going full speed. I do this a hundred times a day, but always catch myself with my poles. Was not so lucky this time. Went down headfirst with all kinds of momentum. Hit my knee pretty good, and my elbow. I was pretty shaken up, but am eternally grateful for not hitting my face on the big rock on the side of the Trail. I am always worried that I’m going to fall and knock out my teeth or something. Heard that happened to someone this year.

Anyway, I just layed there like a beached whale and Andy had to take my pack off & help me up. My knee’s kind of sore & stiff tonight, but I think it will be fine.

Oh – did I mention – it RAINED today? Not too bad, though. I think I actually believe the weather report now – supposed to clear up tomorrow afternoon & be nice for days after that! At Pass Mtn Hut tonight. There are a million people here, but luckily we were early enough to get a spot in the shelter. Will try to do 20+ tomorrow to stay ahead of schedule.