April 8, 1998

4/8/98 Curley Maple Shelter

4.1 miles (341.8 total)

Just as we’re getting ready to hit the lights, two set of eyes pop up in the doorway. It was Piper and Shane, out for a little night hiking. They didn’t leave No Business Knob Shelter until 8:39 PM. The moon was out and the shelter was pretty full.

For some reason, I didn’t sleep at all last night, even though I had Uncle Johnny’s thick thermarest. Finally, about 6 AM, I got dressed and went outside to write postcards. But while everyone else is waking up, the clouds came rolling in. By the time Veto and Ol’Crawdad got started for a 19 mile slackpack at 8:30, the clouds opened up - HARD! A few of us decided to hang around and hike out after lunch. A quick trip to the post office and now I’m eating at Pizza Hut with the sun a blazin’.

Finally got out of the hostel about 1:30. In one way, you’re torn between the pull of the town and the trail. The trail had some good ups and downs to the campground, then turned into a follow an easy path upstream. "This is going to be easy!" I thought. Then the hammer fell on me. This was another straight up forever trail. I was originally thinking of doing 15 miles but stopped at Curly Maple Gap Shelter winded and tired, too much town food. EWOS, Smiley and I have decided to make it a short one today. My schedule is for 12-15 mile days from now on, so no need to kill myself.

The pack situation has me pissed off, at myself. It’s so easy to whine about it. I keep thinking of those thru-hikers 10 or 20 years ago. My equipment is space-age compared to what they had. Chunky made some comment about how cheap her pack was, and I believe she’ll take it all the way to Katahdin. Then I look at my $275 pack. So I’m not going to replace it. If 40 pounds is too much for it, I just have to trim the fat, or at least move it around. So as soon as I can, the thermarest gets replaced by a foam pad and the waterproof food bags get replaced by mesh ditty bags. After Mount Rogers, besides winter clothes going home, I’ll get my alcohol stove. Then for the northern section, I’m sending the tent home to be replaced by my dryloft bag cover and tarp. Plus I’m going to keep experimenting with the straps and moving the load around. Silly of me to whine about equipment, AT means AdapT!

Met a few new hikers today, Chunky (who is skinny as a rail), Lynx and Straight Away. Cosmo and Kadidlehopper also showed up at the hostel. And Hickery caught up to us also. Not bad for a section hiker just starting. Was thinking Dundee, Tucker and Piper might show up at the shelter tonight.