07:35. Spoiler and Keener
This day was going to be a positive one simply because we had been contacted by a trail Angel who was following Adventures Facebook Blog. He offered to pick them up and provide a free night of lodging in Waynesboro, Virginia. Luckily they asked if they could bring me along as the Maid of Honor. He agreed. So this day would get us into Pennsylvania yet be less than 10 miles.
We began hiking at 06:20 after I had the second half of my unbelievably good Italian sub from the trailhead feast the night before. This life revolves around food out here so the plan was to get there in time to get Lunch and dinner in town. Then the next day we’d be back on the road.
About an hour later we ran into Spoiler and Keener. Spoiler is new at this so she is testing the waters. Keener, on the other hand, is a vet and is hiking NOBO so we may meet her again.
06:48. Hiking Across Private Lands in Maryland
The hiking in this section brought us across private land several times. Once again it appears that private property owners and the hikers seem to live together in harmony.
At one point I walked past about a dozen deer that Action and Adventure later flushed. I guess that I was too busy looking at my feet.
We had considered taking a short spur trail to see High Rocks which is about the last thing to see in Maryland before hitting the Mason-Dixon Line and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The problem was everything we read about it said that it was now covered in spray paint graffiti. Just about every rock we passed as we neared the spot was spray painted so we decided to bypass this highlight.
Instead just about the last thing we saw in Maryland was this. Now this is not to say that this is unique to Maryland. It has actually been found anywhere there are people hiking with their dogs in the tourist sections of the trails. In this case it was where people were hiking who wanted to see graffiti painted on high rocks.
What you do is you take your dog for a walk in the wilderness. Being well trained by normally walking your dog in a HOA controlled subdivision or a city park you know that you should pick up your dog’s excrement and bag it before you deposit it in whatever receptacle they provide.
Because these folks are well trained they evidently are equipped with bags just in case their dog does the nasty. Ah……. this is the wilderness. There are bears and deer and raccoons and a pile of other animals out here doing the nasty and none of them have plastic bags. Yes….. even human beings. I have yet to use a plastic bag and leave it in the woods.
I mean excrement is a natural biproduct that will decompose. Plastic won’t. Why would anyone be inconsiderate enough to leave plastic bags full of what should be on the ground along the trail as litter. Take a stick and push your dogs remains off the trail!!!!
09:54 Some of the Less Rocky Trail
As each day progresses your feet begin to feel the beating they take on the constant irregular rocks. This is one of the better sections that also includes a little knee pounding downhill hiking.
11:12 Pen Mar Park
A community park only a short distance from the Mason-Dixon Line.
11:15. We Meet Roots and Greenhorn Again
11:14. We are Close to the Middle!
Actually the mileage shown is to the state lines. The trail is actually 2,200 miles when you add the distance to Amicalola.
11:21. The Mason-Dixon Line
The line created to separate free states from slave states prior to the Civil War.
17:11 Nero the Trail Angel Dog Wants Supper
Comfortably Settled in Pennsylvania
Waiting just beyond the Mason-Dixon Line was our trail Angel Soggy (Chris Vorez). Chris has hiked much of the trail and decided that he wants to give back to the hikers as much as he can. He said his trail name was originally Soggy Bottom from an incident in which he was looking at his feet on the trail and ended up doing a face plant on a low hanging branch which knocked him backwards into a creek. Thus: Soggy Bottom. He now goes by Soggy.
I can’t tell you how much of a difference he made in our hike. He provided three meals, resupply, beds and his dog Nero and Mom Pat. It couldn’t get any better than that! He works for Volvo making engines for their bigger rigs and Mack trucks. He basically has his hands on literally 50% of the trucks built.
Soggy (Chris Vores), his Mom Par and Nero the wonder dog
It’s amazing that this family has taken it upon themselves to invite perfect strangers into their home. He says he checks potential hikers as much as he can but he was checking out their post. I was the wild card in this situation.
We spent the evening talking with Pat. She is a recently retired receptionist in the local emergency room. In the past she was a marathon runner so she is no stranger to pushing the envelope a bit.
Action and Adventure Got the Room
So I bunked in with Nero. No. Not really. I got the couch. Nero waited in Soggy’s room for him to come home from work.
This break was just what was needed. We got close to ten miles yet did not have to take a zero. It would definitely give us the strength to “hike on” the next day!
Thanks Soggy from the bottom of my heart. I truly hope that you get to fulfill your dream of having a hostel one day and get to shuttle in your brand new Ford Bronco!