07:46. Shotput and her Faithful Dog Pansy
We were hoping for another 15 mile day and another freeze alert was on the books so we were up and out of camp before 8. By this time we had been with Shotput for several days in camp. She is doing a 30 day backpack with her dog Pansy who by this time had become the camp dog. Full of energy she was constantly bringing everyone a stick to throw for her many at least three feet across. At night the dog would claim the bottom of the sleeping bag leaving Shotput’s feet warm but causing a bit of a problem on the upper end.
08:47 Entering Sky Meadows State Park
At one point we crossed U.S. Highway 50 which runs East and West. That has always been a landmark for me for the last 50 years because I would often take at least a portion of it when traveling in order to visit my college roommate Denny Curl and his wife Kathy in Maryland. Oh…… he’s Dennis now. I find it hard to believe how many times I’ve made the drive from South Carolina to Massachusetts since 1965 (55 years)
08:53 The Word is It Will Be in the 80’s Next Week
I really shouldn’t be saying “we” anymore while describing the hike. In Front Royal Action and Adventure had gotten their trail legs somehow and they were now leaving me in the dust. That’s the way it is when your hiking with young whipper snappers. It had to be either the magic muffins that Patty had given them or maybe the new shoes that they bought in town or just the fact that a month out here makes your body more acclimated to the physical demands of hiking every day.
At one point two women hiking Southbound on a week long hike came upon me. “Are you Defib?”
“Action and Adventure say that you were from Massachusetts. We’re from there.”
We discussed my former home but most importantly they let me know that we had warmth in our near future!
08:57. Our Harper’s Ferry Goal Within Reach
Seeing this sign was somewhat of a pick me up. Harper’s Ferry has always been considered an unofficial halfway point for the AT even tho it’s actually further North in Pennsylvania. Knowing that HF was now finally in reach at 32 miles was needed incentive.
09:55. Two Tents from Wisconsin
As usual I was plodding along when suddenly another one of those young type AT hikers whizzed by me. We traded names while in motion. I, of course, didn’t understand him thinking that he said “Too Tense”. I was sorry that he felt that way and figured he was out here to lighten up a little.
A half a mile later I ran into him again getting water. I asked him again his name….. “No…. Two Tents” he said tapping a tent tied to the bottom of his pack. It turns out that he began on February 28th in Georgia. He seemed intent on passing everyone on the trail. There was no question about it …… he was making some time.
12:38. Entering the Dreaded Roller Coaster
I had heard about this bad boy and to be truthful hadn’t thought much about it. The contour showed lower mountains but it didn’t tell about the difficulty of the trail. It would be continuous ups and downs for 14.3 miles. Within that mileage there was 5,013 feet of climbing. The main story though was rock. Ugly, uneven, inconsistent foot stubbing rocks.
15:27. 1,000 Miles of Pure Bliss
For several miles I was passing back and forth a group of 6 hikers all with a military history and all members of a nondenominational church in Westminster, Pennsylvania. They represented the Air Force, Navy and the Marines and they immediately adopted me so the U.S. Army would be accounted for. Once in camp at Ben Moore Shelter they built a campfire and we all sat around reminiscing about our military days in different periods of time. I remain jealous that the Air Force and Navy had flush toilets.
As you can see from the picture above today I passed the official 1,000 mile marker of the entire AT. Since I’ve done all of that on the two attempts I’ve now hiked 1,140 miles of the entire trail. A little over half way. Tomorrow I’ll pass 300 miles on this trip. It’s been a slow accumulation of mileage so far but I-know what will happen….the mileage will painstakingly increase. Every ache and pain will be measured and as the mileage increases those aches and pains will seem just a little less intense. It enables you to “hike on”.