I'm here now and this is my story.
I left Spectre's rn1DC home the morning of the 28 of
Feb. Ken Languedoc (trail angel) picked me up and
dropped me off in Amicalola Falls State Park. So I
signed in and went to the lodge for an All You Can
Eat (AYCE) lunch. Then I started the climb with a full
belly, ha ha ha, if you ever did mountains, you would
know the feeling I had. I reached the summit at
1816 hours, sunset, and I did a blessing to this great and beautiful trail. I started with salt, for the cleansing of the summit, then some rice, for the sacrament. Then with my offering for the four directions, I went on the southern side of the summit, facing the south, I said to her, you are the direction that welcomed me when I came in '95, for this I give you my first homage. Then, I went to the east, and said, people speak of the solitude that I live, for when I'm on this trail, I stand in the shadow of the mountains, but where I first learned it, was when I stood in the mist of the ocean, Thank You. Then I crossed the summit to the west, while the sun was setting and said to the sun, You are the power and the goodness for me to follow without any deviation, and Lord, may you have mercy on my soul, then to the north and said to her, it is your duty to pass on my good tidings ahead of me, so be it.
So I have said, now it is being written
Good morning. It's March first.
I've awoken in heaven. Beauty abounds, quiet from
civilization. How clean the air. The simple things
are around me. Well, I'm told, complexes are only
simple things stack on top of each other and if
something is impossible it only takes a little bit
longer to solve or complete.
0820 Hours I'm on the move. Windy, sun is shining. I return back to the summit to officially start. I've gone a little past US service road 42. There's a stream singing to me and I try to mimic him to flow along the trail.
0956 Hours: Spent ten minutes at Stover Creek Shelter warming up nicely. Made it to Hawk Mt. Shelter early afternoon. Kinda sore... well.., my knee is sore for you see years ago I shattered my leg in over 40 places. I now have had five knee operations and was told I should have an artificial knee put in. But what more damage could I do to it now. I mean, if I had it done and fell, I could bend the rod or break the bone around the rod. So, I ask, what part of the knee do you save when you cut out to feed to the dogs? When I fall now, it only hurts, but, I am free. I'm living a dream. I have drawbacks and my days are numbered, but, let's see how far I can go, with this heart that is joyous and is so thankful.
Hawk Mt. Shelter is a nice three-sided shelter build. I believe in '94 it was built, the water is .4 miles West, So, a good trick is to water up on the trail about a half-mile before the side trail to the shelter so you don't have to go downhill to the other water source. The trail in Georgia is defined - short, steep climbs mingle with long, steep climbs. They mean it too, for the first 36 miles fifty percent of the ones going north doing the through hike are off the trail!!!
3/2/98 0838 Hours: Leaving Hawk
Mountain, Blue sky. It's warmer than yesterday.
Shoulders are sore from carrying the backpack. But,
this is my third hike. I know what is in store for
the most part. I'm back on the white blazes which
marks the Appalachian Trail (AT). There's water a
couple of tenths north.
1200 Hours: Cooper Gap. Gone four miles. The sweat has been pouring out of me. A lot of climbs and downgrades. The first 405 miles of the trail is 50% uphill and 50% downhill, its a shock, if you're not prepared (I'm laughing while I write this for I'm getting tired just listening to my tapes).
1415 Hours: Justus Creek. Very little water since Hawk Mt. A lot of hills (mountains really), just up and down constantly. I drink what I want and in a mile I'm going to make camp by water for I know there is a climb which is hard, I am tired, cold, shaken. They're talking snow on the radio. It feels like it too.
1454 Hours: Blackwell Creek. It is snowing.
1533 Hours: My knee is so sore, but the rest of me is feeling good. I am in shape. I have gotten my tent up and I am in it. Its snowing harder now; wind is blowing. It is very wet outside, I'm taking care to make sure my tape recorder does not get wet. I'm in my bag, cold. It is snowing harder and my thermometer is reading 45 degrees. I think it isn't accurate but, I am warm inside my bag. I have everything on... hat, gloves and fleece. When I go out, its cold. I shake. In fact during the day, I was shaking three different times, but, I have not zipped my bag up yet. This is only my third night.
1736 Hours: I tried to eat. I had a brainstorm to take brown rice. You see, I like white rice, but, brown rice has more good things in it. Brown rice has a taste I don't care for. Well, I tried to force myself and I up-chuck. I only have that and candy. I still have 22 miles of tough mts before I can get a change of food. Its cold and I have to eat..
3/3 0826 Hours: I'm on the move. This climb is not bad when you're rested, for when I am at the top, it's soft rolling hills to Gooch Gap.
0838 Hours: I changed; took off a couple of layers. You see, it's good to be warm. After 10 minutes you adjust. Forgive me for trying to find the words or my outlook. You see, I go to basics. I'll try to explain. In religion, we are children to whatever faith we believe in. Medical science says, the oldest cell in our body reaches,it's only seven years, at most. We judge intelligence, by the way we minic, and looking at the young, we say, See how the children minics us, pretty intelligent huh, Sharp, cute as a button too. But when they get older, they don't lose the abiliy to minic, but they get better. And when you live around structures, made out of steel, concrete, the skeletons of the forest, you get the same walls, unfeeling. I don't care. I don't feel, what a loss. You see, for all the thousands of years under the ground, the few short moments above, if you're able to stop and smell the flowers, feel the breeze on your cheek, or the warmth of the sun, Well, you may be gifted, or, a little touch. To make a long story short, being or thinking like a child, you see, if you're warm, dry and fed, it's easy to enjoy yourself. But, if you're cold, wet and hungry it's hard, if not dangerous, especially out here. Now its 0930, still snowing. I fell. I'm laughing thinking about Blood Mt, doing it in the snow with a leg that doesn't bend. Forgive me, for I am wild and not much scares me. In '95 I had a bear smelling me when I was sleeping. I just lay down and sleep. No tent to be in, no pad to sleep on. It doesn't take much time to go to sleep that way. I hike by myself and only once I got scared. I mean, I've been through storms, bad ones... lightning crashing around, wind tearing trees down, things that go bump in the night, you know, lions, tigers and bears, oh my. Anyway, I was by a small lake, very quiet, where you didn't see a ripple. I looked over some rocks, looking straight down, ahhhhh- I saw me. I have a couple more stories to tell on this trip, you see. Don't seek to follow in the footsteps of the old; seek what they sought.
0939 Hours: It's snowing pretty hard, so I packed my recorder away.
1030 Hours: I'm talking about how cold it is; must keep moving- it's going to be a short day.
1215 Hours: Woody Gap, GA 60. Twenty miles after Springer. I do remember how cold. I ate on that cement picnic table. That road, if you take it west, two miles, you would end up in Suches, GA (never went there).
1232 Hours: Pushed on.
1314 Hours: Doing a climb; not at the top yet. What a view! This is what it's about. There's a great poem by John Muir: Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you, as sunshine flows into trees. The wind, will blow their freshness into you; the storms, their energy. While your cares drop off like autumn leaves. I took four pictures there and said a scripture. The Lord made the earth and it is good, breathtaking, and then it gives you your breath back, you are at peace.
1335 Hours: At the top of Cedar Mt. If I remember correctly its pretty easy, to a stream and campsite. I'm at milemarker 21 and the campsite is 22.9.
1433 Hours: I'm at the campsite. Been walking throught the biting wind. I thought I was stopping, but pushing on- it's cold. I'm just getting water. Going to be a dry camp tonight. At 1457 I pass a spring. Wish I remembered so I didn't have to carry this water. A quart of water weighs 2lbs. I think I had three. I did that quite often,going to dry camps.
1544 Hours: Already made camp, I'm in my bag. So happy being out of my wet clothes. I guess I did about nine miles today. Been seeing some people out here, no way near the numbers if I waited a month.
1642 hours: I'm trying to eat that rice... fail. It came up, so I ate candy. Only got six miles to Neels. I'm just starting out, so I've got plenty of energy left. I've got Blood Mt. ahead of me before Neels Gap. Well, this is how I love. Here's another saying - when you're lonely, tired, hungry, bored, scared, wet, cold, dehydrated, hyperventilated, got the runs, oh hum, who cares, it's the song of the trail. I'm in my bag, talking into the recorder about food (number one subject on the trail) I hear from the radio, it's going down to the teens tonight. I'm wondering what the temperature in the mts.(every 1,000 ft. it drops 3.5 to 5% and you got a stronger wind the higher you go also)
2232 Hours: The wind is howling, but I'm snug as a bug.
3/4 0700 Hours: Dark, trying to get up, cold. Well, I'll just stay for a few minutes more.
0812 Hours: Snowing hard, socked in, can't see anything.
1107 Hours: Blood Mt. Shelter, last 1.4 miles radical up, ice, snow, cold, very slippery.
1120 Hours: Leaving, biting cold, sun's trying to come out. Going down, hard to follow the trail, white blazes are on the ledges that are covered with snow and ice. I see down below, green and looks so warm!!!
1230 Hours: Byron Reece Trail, .9 miles to Neels Gap, easy climb then level, be there shortly. I start laughing at myself about rushing to Neels, slow down, stay in the wilderness as long as I can. So much to learn, to experience. Feel the joy of solitude. Wendell Berry has a poem I enjoy. How the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long. But only by a spiritual journey, no matter how long, a journey of one inch, arduous, humbling and joyful, when you arrive at the ground at your feet and be at home. Wake up, so my steps slow. It's warmer down here. I touch my first first green leaves of the year and I say, this is what the trail is about (like life itself) not about the pain, but the warmth, serenity, the joy that fills the soul. Any place is within walking distance, giving enough time.
1535 Hours: I'm leaving Neels Gap, only place on the trail where the trail runs through a building. Spent only $24.23 cheap, in '95, it was $170, too much. Outside, there was a family enjoying the breathtaking view. They gave me a ham+cheese sandwich and a couple of oranges, they picked themselves. That's besides the two small pizzas, two sandwiches in a pocket and a few things to hold me over for thirty miles, next town. Beautiful day, sky is blue. It's a bit of a climb and I have a full belly.
1935 Hours: Some drops of rain are hitting my tent. So happy, full belly, I'm laughing, just as long as I stay away from the brown rice.
3/5 0647 Hours: Been raining for most of the night. Thinking how I dislike packing up in the rain, I got a litre of water, I'll wait a bit, still dark. I'm a very happy camper. Thinking back to yesterday if I was going over Blood Mt. today, just a little harder.
0935 Hours: Got a break from the rain. Don't know where I am right now, but I have been moving for about an hour, hour and a half. What I say about the rain, if the rain keeps up, it won't come down.
1156 Hours: There is a gift of two beers beside the trail, with a note saying, for BEORN from snore-a-saur and clay, '95 thru-hikers, fond menories. Going down to Tesnatee Gap, then up a hard .3 mile climb. Then I'll go by Hogpen Gap, pretty easy going, I've still got uphills and downhills, I'll take a break after an hour and a half, had sausage, cheese and bread,
2000 Hours: Low Gap Shelter, went 9.5 miles, my longest day this year. My tent's up by the trail. Walked down to the shelter to sign the journal, none. I go back up, got water, great spring. Made a fire, don't have to worry about sparks, ha ha ha. Earlier I did some slipping and sliding, did some screaming, my knees are not made for bending anymore. I'm settled in, ate, raining hard, putting my wet tent up, taking my wet tent down, rained all day today, chance of rain tomorrow 100%.
3/6 0539 Hours: Rained all night, radio says, it will be raining hard all day today. Had a great sleep last night, love hearing the rain. Thinking, I believe today is an easy day if I'm stopping at Blue Mt. Shelter.
1046 Hours: Chattahoochee Gap, thought back to '95 when I went down for water, won't do that again, quite the downhill and I have to come back up.
1421 Hours: Blue Mt. Shelter, staying this year, always wanted to, but as you can see I get to this shelter so early in the day. I'm sitting here, reading the journal, oh, snore-a-saur was here last night. He brought up a bucket of chicken. I wished he knew my leg is basicly useless and I cannot do the miles like before. I been known to appear without warnng. I'm looking around, the fog is thick, socked in. what the heck, Just starting the trail. This very long trail. These young pilgrims, on the most part, pushes too hard and they end up quiting. For the first month, take it easy, let the body adjusts, enjoy each step. Don't have your steps for a means to an end, but, have each step as a unquine experience all on it's own. Earlier, I did a few falls, moss covered rocks..
3/7 0636 hours: Sitting here like a bunch drown rats. A few hikers shown up later yesterday, we laugh and talked. Two have sore knees, going to the doctor when they get to the road. Why we got wet, fog came into the shelter, 2 in the morning I had puddles of water on my down bag, not good. I put my tent up, wipe my bag off as best I could and went back to sleep.
1345 Hours: Tray Mt., inside my tent, wet, so windy, well I'm dry. But it has been a hard day. Two hard climbs, Rocky and tray mts., just one break, rain hard all day. SO being in my tent, talking to my recorder, for four days, this rain, snow, ice, cold, it feels like winter! But my spirits, are high. The radio is telling me about tomorrow's rain, chance, 100%. So for the morning I'm thinking about recording, while I'm getting dressed, my clothes are so very wet. But for now, I'm warm, dry and fed, I am content!
3/8 0647 Hours: Yes, it is raining, I am yelling while I'm getting dressed. But, I'm also laughing. You learn on this trail that you will always be wet, you're sweating, or it's raining. At some point of the day, if you get dry, nothing will grow on you, only in you, which will be your heart. "The fastest way to learn the universe is through a forest wilderness." As of now, I am alive, things cannot get much better, but they can get worse!
1043 Hours: Passed Addis Gap, starting the climb of Kelly Knob, in '95, after doing Kelly's, I had nightmares of any knobs I came across, none of them was like Kelly.
1243 Hours: Deep Gap Shelter, reading this journal, there's one entry that catches my eye. 3/6 Shelters are not for groups(2 boys and 4 girls, young teens with two adults to look out for them). They are only for solo hikers, thru hikers and emergencies, shelters are never full. May the man who says it is should be dragged through the mud and spit on. He signs his name, he has a dog (I hates dogs on the trail, this is why, they are not under control, they don't bury their waste, they shit by springs, one dog this year, killed three fawns, triplets)there are a few more stories from the years of doing this trail, enough of the dogs. There were a couple of other thru hikers siding with him (the same who kept a thru hiker out of Hawk Mt. Shelter when it wasn't full). This is my reply. Sorry for how he feels, but he's wrong. The trail and shelters are not for thru hikers. Imagine a thru hiker having to put up a tent. I never heard of a thru hiker putting up a tent. Do thru hikers have tents? Wow, shelters are just built for men, not for young boys and girls. Where do these young boys and girls get off. they should put up their tents in the hard rain and let the dumb #@!! men sleep in here. You are wrong! the woods are a learning for children. Wake up. I can't wait to catch him, to teach him. Thru Hikers are the ambassadors of the trail. This trail was not set up for thru hikers. the dream was a continuous footpath for people to come out for a few days to experiance this barbarian utopia. I mean, three to five million come out here, but these 4000 fools, who don't do any maintains, or donate any money, own the shelters. They kill whatever moves, or they are quiet, when they see others doing it. I do not and will not understand them! Oh, I also have a P.S. shelters are just for dogs, not for children. Thats what you have isn't it, a dog. Bet his brain is bigger than yours! Guess I'm mister personality huh, ha ha ha. well in '96, there was a lady, she was teaching me gentleness, quess I need more work. Well, I've been out here for 8 days, 63 miles, wet, cold, a little lonely, but, I enjoy being out here. Met some young gogetters, going to kill every mouse out here. So I spoke to them. If you are a host, having guests, you always have food to serve to them. When you have been out here for a fews weeks, being in shape. On some nights, you may be laying awake, maybe enjoying a full moon. You may be lucky, where a spirit drops from the sky, with power, speed, agility, in the shape of an owl, total silence. Your heart will come thru your chest and you learn, there is a larger perspective about life. You learn to walk lightly across this beautiful earth and you will be at peace. For with all your sciences, can you tell me me when it is, whence it is, when the light floods the soul? I don't think they're going to hurt one now, thats the spirit! Trying to dry my things, no sun. Enjoying the life, it is good.
3/9 0907 Hours: I'm at the Blueberry Patch, own and runned by Gary and Lennie Poteat. I'm getting dryed today. This hostel, what can I say, They do your clothes, showers has soap, shampoo, clean towels, the bunkhouse, is warm and cozy. But what this hostel is known for, is their breakfasts, coffee, juice, meat, and last, but not least, their pancakes, with blueberries that they grow. So I'm here, put my tent up, it will dry, strong wind, I put two stakes (big mistake) in the ground. Got cleaned, me and my clothes, and I go to town, for an AYCE lunch, resupply, supper (can of beans, one slice of ham, 1.5 pounds bread, half pound of butter, gallon of milk) two papers, to catch up on the news. I got back, check on my tent, almost dry, went in to read a little. Went back out, about an hour. WHAT, my tent is gone! The wind blowing toward the river, darn, it's snowing a little. That river is about 70 yards away. I go down, looked around, nothing. I got ahold of Gary. We looked together, he spotted it. Across the river caught on a fallen tree, under water. Ohhh, that river was running hard, boiling. I stripped down, to shorts and sandles. The water was cold. I made it across, pulled my tent into a ball, started back, fell, got caught in the current. Here I am, being swept down, banged, punctured, being dragged under for awhile. I broke water, got some air into me, I fought to get to the river bank, dragged myself out. I still had my tent, poles were bent, broken, useless. Oh, but me, looking at me, bleeding, my knees were quickly swelling, lost a toe nail, and I was feeling the soreness coming over me. Guess I have to go to the hospital. He check me over, and told me to take a few weeks off, I can't, I replied. For you see everyone gets hurt out here, and for me to go every day, I have to listen to myself. While I'm at it, I open up avenues to listen to others and not just the ones that look like me. For when I walk among these giants standing here majestically in their mossy robes. If they spoke, they would teach us more than any book that has ever been written. They give us our food, warmth, shelter, and our shade. Their roots hold our world together. Being out here, it's kinda like going to a different country, where they're speaking a different language. What does it mean? That they're not communicating? Or is it I? That I don't have the intelligence, or the comprehension to understand. Even a quiet language as sign. But Doctor, I am sore, could I have three perks. He looked at me, and said, how about twenty. I said, thanks. He also gave me some pills for preventive garida. So, I guess you can say what I did, was going through Hell or high water, but I was getting my tent! I'm back at the Blueberry Patch. I lay down, I am so sore. This is nothing new for this body. This will take some time, to calm down. I will ride out this storm. I take two pills, wait an hour, still sore, not as bad. I'm moving around the bunkhouse, making phone calls,(I need poles ), cooking my supper. I am moving, so slowly, no big moments, I feel, but, I do not try to find where it hurts, well, not right now. My knees are swollen, one toenail is gone, bruises everywhere. So I eat, stay quiet, take two more pills, and I sleep.
3/10 Morning, I hurt every time I move, I am hiking today! This the time, when I learn the most from life's questions, to relate. Yes, I hiking today, every day. To do the footpath continuously. This is the thru hike!!! But this is only a small part of it. For the ones who can enjoy every step of the way, to enjoy learning. Learning is a great reward, learning what? Hey, I'm just taking steps. Ten years searching in the deep woods. Today, Great laughter at the edge of the lake.
My Favorite Web Sites
North of the barn
'98 page 2