(From Ellie's journal April 1 -Wednesday)
Like the toilet paper. I can't find my pit bag. Honest. I've only been on the trail one day and already I'm classifying plants by how well they work as toilet paper.
8 miles down, 2, 175 to go. It's nice to have a new third digit already. Actually, I walked NINE miles - Steve and I parked in the parking lot and walked the mile up Springer Mt. to the trailhead, where my miles started to "count". We kissed goodbye, I gave him my gaiters which I already didn't like, and I was on my own.
Beautiful, misty day, saturating the color of the moss and lichens and tree trunks. Rhododendron is just starting to show buds.
After I stopped at Hawk Mt. Shelter, bugs were a problem. Gnats or something. I have a head net and the guys in the camp were jealous. I said I'd barter: 15 minutes with the headnet for a foot of toilet paper. One of the guys (trail name Bluegrass) said "That's the true mountain currency - toilet paper!"
Later, someone had a craving for dessert- she gave me TP in exchange for instant pudding.
I'm still scatterbrained. I couldn't find my knife - someone lent me theirs. I lost my lighter - someone gave me a few matches. I'm glad I already have a Trail Name (MacGyver) - I'm sure if I were waiting to be "christened" I'd already be "TP". Or "Losing It". Or "Moocher".