1981 Appalachian Trail Through Hike Journal

1981 Trail Log Introduction

This is an almost verbatim transcription of the log book that I carried with me on my end-to-end hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1981. In a few cases I have corrected spelling or rewritten an awkward or confusing sentence but you may still find some of it perplexing. I often mention people or places as if they are already known to the reader even though they had not been previously mentioned. Also, note that most of the entries are written in the evening in camp so the order in which events appear in the journal reflects the order in which I happened to think of them that evening, not necessarily their chronological order. Comments added after the hike are enclosed in angle brackets. Some other notes may help you to understand the entries:

1) A couple of times in the early entries I refer to problems with an ankle. I had badly broken my left ankle (two fractures and a great deal of soft tissue damage) just two years before and had been told by the doctors that it would never be strong enough for even a moderate backpacking trip.

2) Traveling "north" on the trail is walking towards Mt. Katahdin, Maine, regardless of the actual compass direction. Similarly, traveling "south" is walking towards Springer Mt., Georgia.

3) Most long distance hikers pick up a "trail name" which they use along the trail. I start using these names in my journal in the April entries but never explain them. Mine was "Moses", given to me in Georgia by "The Famous Houston Brothers", but it doesn't appear in my journal until an entry in Massachusetts.