The road less traveled…

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5-20-12 Good day, Bad day, Naughty section hikers

The week following Harper’s Ferry was very relaxed and easy-going, taking my time and easing back into the trail life. I continued hiking with Avatar and Ratbucket for the most part, we would maybe go a day or two without seeing each other, but then we would catch right back up again. We also ran into some more familiar faces when leaving Harper’s Ferry, so it was nice to catch up with other hikers and see what the “trail gossip” was.

I was blessed with numerous trail magic moments this week, so much so that my food bag was almost unnecessary. One day while in Washington Monument State Park, I stopped at a park/rest area with bathrooms and nearby was a group having a ginormous feast. The group was an organized father/child weekend outing put on by Phil and his wife ( I can’t remember her name). They take care of all of the food and arrangements so that the father can simply spend quality time with their child, whether its hiking, fishing, or playing games.

Phil noticed Ratbucket and I (probably our dirty hiking attire and smell) lingering at a picnic table and invited us over to the leftovers. I ate 2-3 hot dogs (once again I can’t remember) and a Peanut butter and Jelly sandwhich. They gave us a candy “goodie” bag with Starbursts and Skittles in it. They also showed us a tote filled with apples, bananas, and oranges and told us to help ourselves. Chasing that all down with some nice Lemonade…oh ya, life is GOOD! To top it all off, we were ready to head off and they gave us a whole pack of extra hot dogs to have for dinner.

After such a feast it was difficult to hike any big miles for the rest of the day. Once we got to Annapolis Rocks with an awesome view, it was a unanimous decision to go no farther. Avatar and Redman joined us there as well and we all camped out on the ridge. I got there around 3 p.m. so the rest of the day included a much-needed siesta in the sun, a little bit of reading (but mostly sleeping), enjoying our hot dogs and campfire, lingering on the rocks while listening to Ratbucket play some guitar, and eventually watching an amazing sunset. I also packed out some Sparklers and busted those out for the wondrous occasion. It was truly an amazing day with great friends on the A.T.

The following day was rainy and gross, all the more reason to take a short day. I only ended up doing about 12 miles and possibly would have gone a little farther, however, towards the end I forded my first river. If my camera was not so buried in my pack to avoid the rain, I would have taken pictures. There was absolutely no other way across this river, I walked the shore for about 20 minutes trying to find a better route. But it was no good. I went back to the original spot to look for any type of stepping stones, but with the rain the stream was moving too fast that even if there were rocks to walk across, I probably would have wiped out anyway. So I just took a deep breath and carefully walked right in, praying that I wouldn’t get too soaked. It wasn’t terrible, but at one point the water was up past my knees. By the time I crossed and kept walking I was determined to stop at the next shelter instead of hearing/feeling the squish squish squish of my socks and shoes for the rest of the day.

Luckily the next shelter was one of the 2-story fantastic structures that are perfect for spending a rainy day in. I also had a copy of Hatchet that took up the rest of my evening and enjoyed a couple cups of hot cocoa with fellow thru-hikers. A downside was when a bunch of section hikers came a little later and were nice enough people but didn’t understand simple trail/shelter manners. Things like taking off your muddy shoes BEFORE traipsing through the shelter, or ASKING someone to move some of their gear instead of doing it themselves, and my favorite was when a lady climbed to the 2nd part of the shelter (where all our sleeping bags were laid out) with her muddy shoes and stepped over/around our stuff dripping wet. Sigh….section hikers….

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June 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment