Harper’s Ferry, WV to Front Royal, VA

March 31 Day 12 David Lesser Shelter

Benjamin, the man who owns and runs the Teahorse Hostel, came upstairs around 7:30 to make waffles for Serena, myself and one other individual, a traveler who is not a hiker. We sat around the table and drank coffee and ate waffles for about a half hour. The traveler was rather confounded with our hiking and seemed to have a difficult time understanding what the trail is and how it is hiked. We directed him to the Conservancy down the street and hopefully he went there today and found the answers he was looking for from us.

Check out time was 10am and I walked down to the post office to send my inferior inflatable mat to Keith along with a special AT souvenir. And a pair of socks and an extra shirt which I don’t think I’ll be needing any longer.

The shelter is about 8 or so miles south of town and a pleasant hike. Nice to have another easy-ish day. There is one other person here and he is very nice. It looks to be a chilly night, it’s windy but I’m very cozy in the shelter on Keith’s insulated Big Agnes inflatable sleeping pad.

My life is complete!

April 1 Day 13 Sam Moore Shelter

I got out of camp at 7am which made me very happy. I was following the ridge line south when I came across a herd of white tailed deer. I couldn’t believe how long their tails were! They were very large and fast. I glimpsed nearly a dozen of them as they headed down the ridge.

After about 7 miles I came to a spring where I filled my water bottles and prepared to enter The Rollercoaster. This is a 13.7 mile stretch of the AT that has many, many ups and downs. Trailboss and his crew of volunteers built this section of the trail some years ago as an alternative to a lengthy road walk. It is pretty spectacular. Gorgeous little hollows are at the bottom of most of the hills where springs and creeks are running very nicely this time of the year. This shelter is about half way through the Rollercoaster, and tomorrow I’ll get through the rest and climb a mountain at the end of it! Good hiking but exhausting. I am really looking forward to entering the Shenandoah National Park on Wednesday. This is a part of the country I have never seen.

I love it.

Right now I have that familiar feeling of being tired, sore and content. Again I met my goal, again I got to the place where I told myself I would get to. I could have stopped earlier.

Here I am.

Time to read a bit and fall asleep by 8pm.

Another amazing day on the Appalachian Trail.

April 2 Day 14 Whisky Hollow Shelter

It started raining in the middle of the night but I was cozy as can be in the shelter. I woke up only twice in the night, which means that last night was one of the better nights sleep I’ve gotten so far. Around 5am I got up to go use the privy. It was dark and so foggy that when I turned on my headlamp all I could see was mist. This is exactly why I always locate the privy the evening before so I can find it in the dark.

I got up there and when I opened the door a smallish black widow was the first thing I saw. It was to the left up in a corner. In the space of about a tenth if a second I calculated the likelihood of being attacked by the spider and could I dig a cat hole in the woods before I entered dire circumstances. I went for it. The whole time I sat in that privy I never took my eyes off that spider. Thank goodness for headlamps!

After my brush with death I decided to make breakfast and a trail mocha (hot coco with Starbucks Via packer). I packed up, left a Snickers bar for a still sleeping Serena and Loki (today is his birthday) and I was hiking before 7am. Getting closer to my target 6:30am time.

I got through the second half of the famed Rollercoaster and took a quick lunch about 7 miles into my 15 mile day. It was chilly and overcast all morning and I was happy to get moving again.

When I had five miles to go I ran into another Boy Scout troop. The adults that watch after those boys sure do have a lot of patience. I wished them happy hiking and began a nice gentle ascent up into Sky Lands (?) State Park. Very nice. I crossed paths with a NOBO named Overhill who started in Georgia in early February. Admirable.

I got here to this shelter and met two section hikers from Indiana who are very friendly. We chatted all things trail and now we are all resting, reading and journaling. I have the downstairs section of the shelter all to myself, which is nice.

Today was the first day I felt really strong and nimble on the trail. During the snow I felt so weighted down by layers and such; I know they were necessary but it’s so nice to be back to wearing my usual hiking garb.

At least for today!

April 3 Day 15 Mountain Cabbin Home

Tonight I’m staying in a very old “Cabbin” that used to be slaves’ quarters in the early 1800s. It is next to a larger house that is a bed and breakfast, owned by two thru hikers, Anything (Lisa) and Possible (Scott). I met Possible when I walked up around 2pm. I had called ahead of time to reserve a bunk, and so far I’m the only one here.

Possible let me choose some loaner clothes while I do my laundry and right now I’m wearing a sleeveless white t-shirt and black stirrup pants.

Stirrup pants.

Possible is out running a hiker, Caretaker, back to Harper’s Ferry. Caretaker gave me a ton of food from the resupply he won’t be needing since he is leaving the trail. I’m stoked! I have 95 percent of the food I’ll need for my next section.

Thanks Caretaker!

So I’m relaxing, and later Possible said he’d take me into Front Royal for anything I might need.

Tomorrow I’ll hike into Shenandoah National Park. So exciting! I feel like a real hiker again. Stirrup pants and all.

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