The sister of a dear friend has taken me in for a couple nights. Her lovely home is in Boiling Springs, PA, just blocks from the Appalachian Trail.
I finished Maryland and it was one of my favorite sections so far. Though a bit rocky, the trail is relatively flat. There are lots of historic markers, state parks and even two museums.
Saturday, June 21US 340 underpass (overnight in Harpers Ferry Hostel) 1019.6 to Ed Garvey Shelter 1025.9
I had a lovely evening at the hostel, though I was distracted by working on my blog and didn’t get to bed early enough! There was a really fun couple in their early fifties staying and several young men. This hostel is located in Knoxville,MD, despite the name. It attracts few hikers, though I don’t know why. The price is $20.16 and includes food! I had a huge fresh fruit smoothie for dinner and made eggs, pancakes and had more fresh fruit for breakfast. The only thing that’s difficult is that checkout is 10a and you can’t come back inside until 5p. It’s a tough place to take a zero day.
And I seriously considered a zero day since it was clearly going to rain all day.
It was a 1.1 mile road walk back to the trail where I met three retired section hikers who were the most fun. I’ve forgotten their names (this is what happens when you don’t write things down.) No Tent? Sherpa? Funny, wonderful people, though. I was just going to stop for lunch at the Ed Garvey Shelter, their destination for the night. When I arrived, there was a group of 10 Boy Scouts and they were so nice and I was so wet. And the retired trio was coming….I called it a short day, changed into dry clothes and claimed a spot in the shelter. More Boy Scouts came. Then a large group of twenty-somethings. Then a Korean section hiker from Atlanta. Then a couple and their dog (she was visibly pregnant but still carrying a pack). Then more Scouts. Then a father and adult son…..and everyone was really nice. Lots of talking, working on merit badges, laughter. What a nice evening.
One of the things we joked about was Hike Naked Day, an annual event on the AT, the first day of summer. None if us saw a naked hiker. Fortunately! Think of the bug bites! What about chafing?
Sunday, June 22 Ed Garvey Shelter 1025.9 to Rocky Run Shelter, 1035.0
There must have been 70 people staying in or around the Ed Garvey Shelter. Garvey was known for organizing a traveling AT party in the 70’s. He would have been proud. That’s the most people I’ve seen staying at an AT shelter and the first time I’ve ever seen a long line at the privy!
The rain had stopped before I went to bed the night before, so the trail wasn’t too wet. I got my usual 7a start. In four miles I hit the Gapland Rd and the Gathland State Park. I had known nothing about this park and ended up staying a few hours here looking at the War Corespondents Memorial, plaques, buildings of the former Gathland estate and visiting the two museums.
I stayed so long that I didn’t get quite as far as I hoped today, stopping at Rocky Run Shelter. I set up my tent near the water source and the old shelter. Since I had the tent site to myself, I took a bandana bath and rinsed out some clothing in the stream.
Monday June 23 Rocky Run Shelter, 1035.0 to stealth campsite, 1056
Someone came in last last night and set up a tent after dark within half a foot from my tent. Mine was the only one in the entire shelter area. He had to have passed a half dozen empty sites and could have set up 20 yards away in the huge camping area. I don’t understand. And when I found he’d thrown his non-combustable trash into the cold fire pit, I packaged it up and left it at the door of his tent. Pack it out, Idiot!
My shirt had almost dried overnight so I put it back on to hike in. The socks were still too wet, so I wore a fresh pair and attached them to the back of the pack to dry.
I walked the 2 miles to the Dahlgren Backpack Campground, my original destination last night. I wish there were more of these along the trail! I took a shower and rinsed out my undies. While combing out my wet hair, I happened to notice Shepard! I met him coming down from McAfee Knob in Virginia, but originally met him last November, shortly after he finished his Thru hike. He told me he was surprised to see I’d gotten this far. Why does no one think I’m a hiker? Must be the short fat legs.
Shepard was there hiking sections and offering trail magic. He offered to slack pack me to the Washington Monument, then give me a “boost” of a few miles. Yeah!
After the monument I got to buy Shepard lunch before he took me a few miles down the trail.
I’d planned to stay at Raven Rock Shelter, but moved on a half mile when I saw a group of 19 Boy Scouts, plus leaders. Though I just had a good experience with Scout groups, I sensed this one wouldn’t end the same way–particularly when all the entrances ask hikers to keep group sizes to 10 or less. After I set up, I hear volley after volley of fireworks going off in the general direction of the shelter. So glad I moved on. Thrilled these young men are getting a wilderness experience, but I need my sleep.