40 miles of Maryland

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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.

The Harpers Ferry Hostel.
The Harpers Ferry Hostel.

DAILY LOG

Breakfast!
Breakfast!

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.

Indian Pipe
Indian Pipe

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?

The Boy Scout Troop was from Wisconsin and so nice!
The Boy Scout Troop was from Wisconsin and so nice!
The Ed Garvey Shelter is two stories. You get to the second story from the back of the shelter.
The Ed Garvey Shelter is two stories. You get to the second story from the back of the shelter.
I wish I had a better photo of these three! They were such fun. And they even shared a bit of "medicinal"  Whisky with me!
I wish I had a better photo of these three! They were such fun. And they even shared a bit of “medicinal” Whisky with me!
I don't know the story behind this, but I'd like I memorial like this.
I don’t know the story behind this, but I’d like a memorial like this.
A rock along the trail
A rock along the trail

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.

Gathland State Park is located on Gapland road on the former estate of George Alfred Townsend, who wrote under the name of GATH. This is the museum about the mans life, but there is also a Civil War museum. This is Crampton's Gap (a gap is a mountain valley) were troops clashed in 1862 during the Battle of South Mountain.
Gathland State Park is located on Gapland road on the former estate of George Alfred Townsend, who wrote under the name of GATH. This is the museum about the ma’s life, but there is also a Civil War museum. This is Crampton’s Gap (a gap is a mountain valley) were troops clashed in 1862 during the Battle of South Mountain.

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Townsend built this monument to war correspondents and later donated it to the state.
Townsend built this monument to war correspondents and later donated it to the state.
The sign isn't in great shape, but tells about the arch.
The sign isn’t in great shape, but tells about the arch.
The remains of the old barn.  Looks like it was nicer than many houses.
The remains of the old barn. Looks like it was nicer than many houses.
Above the door to this tomb are the words "Good Night GATH".  But the tomb is empty. According to the sign beside it: "During the 19th Century few people bought burial lots in public cemeteries as we do today. Instead, a small parcel of their own land was usually set aside as a private cemetery.  If enough money was available a mausoleum (tomb) was often built for certain family members. GATH, concerned with his own burial, built this lonely tomb about 20 years before his death, which came on April 15, 1914 in New York City. By this time his great wealth had dwindled and the near penniless GATH was buried in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania cemetery instead of his own tomb as he had desired."
Above the door to this tomb are the words “Good Night GATH”. But the tomb is empty. According to the sign beside it: “During the 19th Century few people bought burial lots in public cemeteries as we do today. Instead, a small parcel of their own land was usually set aside as a private cemetery. If enough money was available a mausoleum (tomb) was often built for certain family members. GATH, concerned with his own burial, built this lonely tomb about 20 years before his death, which came on April 15, 1914 in New York City. By this time his great wealth had dwindled and the near penniless GATH was buried in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania cemetery instead of his own tomb as he had desired.”

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.

This was Fox Gap, one of three locations during the Battle of South Mountain, Civil War.
This was Fox Gap, one of three locations during the Battle of South Mountain, Civil War.

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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!

Shepard reminds me of my image of Jesus--if Jesus wore glasses, a hiking kilt and trail runners.
Shepard reminds me of my image of Jesus–if Jesus wore glasses, a hiking kilt and trail runners.
The first Washington Monument.
The first Washington Monument.
The story behind the monument
The story behind the monument
...and the view from the top!
…and the view from the top!

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.

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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain and Mexico. I'm exploring the world.

9 thoughts on “40 miles of Maryland”

  1. Looked up the marker. Apparently the young man and his dad helped maintain that section of the trail. After he was killed in a car accident, his dad gathered donations and purchased an acre of land and placed a plaque on it in his memory.

  2. I know you must be exhausted but thank you so much for taking the time to update this blog. I really look forward to reading it & get so every time I see that you’ve posted. its like my little treasure that I save to read. Keep kicking bootie!

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