I’ll try not to make this a rant about my bus ride to Frederick, which was an adventure in and of itself. Instead, I will just point out the highlights.
- After 3 hours of waiting for a delayed departure out of Dallas (what a way to start!) they moved our bus line to the exiting corridor. This was for the departing gates. The permeating smell hit me the closer I got. The only way I can describe it is, I believe it smelled like what I think Woodstock probably smelled like plus the addition of the female equivalent to Stetson. And I’d say that’s pretty spot on.
- On that same bus ride, with no A/C, I had the privilege of listening to Pamela* talk about her getting back with her man after 17 years. She even had his name tattooed on her finger after all this time. She’s been married 4 other times, but she never stopped loving him. And he didn’t her either. Isn’t that sweet?
- Still the same bus ride, from Dallas on the way to Little Rock, the fuzz decided to hop on board in Sulphur Springs to either look for someone or something. So that also ate up some time on an already late bus. I was kind of hoping Keanu Reeves would have crawled out of the baggage area down below with a gold wristwatch saying, “I found it guys! I got it! I’m awesome! I’m Keanu Reeves!”
- Memphis is pretty beautiful in the morning as you cross the mighty Mississippi. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.
- The urinal at the station in Cincinnati smells like fruit loops.
- I got to watch San Antonio destroy Miami in game 3.
- The outside part of the Frederick station smells like urine.
Overall, it wasn’t too bad. I got a food voucher, a $25 voucher for a future ticket, some good people watching time in, a missed bus in Columbus, and only arrived at my destination 4 and a half hours after my original arrival time. I’d say I came out on top. I’ll say this though, I couldn’t wait to sleep on the ground for the first night.
I was blessed with having a ride from Frederick to Harpers Ferry. I waited for him to get off work. So, I perused the town of Frederick all day. He picked me up around 5 and we headed out. Dan, if you are reading this, thanks again for the ride man. I hope you were able to put that red wine to some good use.
There I stood. I was finally there. I headed south for the night. I wanted to see Jefferson Rock and to stand where he once stood (Thomas not George). I left after I said a few “hear ye, hear ye” phrases and ringing an invisible bell. I don’t know how far I hiked but it was getting close to dark, and I hung the hammock and tarp up in Spider City. The daddy long legs here are red….weird. I think there may have been a storm that night but I wouldn’t know because I slept through it. And that was that.
*The name has been changed to protect the identity of the person or probably** because I can’t remember her name.
I woke up around 8AM to the sound of thunder and rain. I checked my tarp, she had done me quite well. The rain wasn’t too terrible so I threw on my jacket, packed my things, and headed back north. I stopped at the ATC around 9 or so. I stayed there for awhile to check things out, get my photo taken, and send out a postcard to my foxy lady. It was cool to see all the thru-hikers come in, what a sense of accomplishment they must have had.
I set off officially around 10 o’clock and was on my way. Walking out of Harper’s Ferry was kind of lack luster, but then I hit the beginning of Maryland. It totally kicked the crap out of me. It was pretty freaking hard. I’m not going to sugar coat anything, it’s no walk in the park. I mean, yes technically I will be walking through parks but…you get the idea. If anyone had been with me, my trail name would have immediately been “Breaks,” because I took a lot of them. So it was pretty hard already, and then I reached a sign that said, “Weverton Challenge.” I thought, “oh crap.” This was also difficult but I finally made it up to the cliffs with an amazing view and it made it totally worth it.
Shortly after I headed out from the cliffs, the clouds came in. I heard the weather was supposed to get super awful. I had no water before I reached the cliffs, I was thirsty, and I still had a ways to go. I did not like this triple-threat combo. I decided I would stop at the Ed Garvey shelter for the day since the weather was set to be bad. I hiked and I hiked. I was beat. This day totally destroyed me. I called out, “Ed Garvey! Where are you?” I received no response. I finally approached the shelter around 4PM. “Ed Garvey you magnificent bastard!” I yelled. I may have only done 8.5 miles for the day. Not bad, but not great. I was satisfied though and as I approached the shelter the rain started coming down. I headed straight for the water source which unfortunately was straight down the mountain about 4 tenths of a mile. It was a B to get to. I didn’t even care about treating it, I was so thirsty. Getting back up was the worst. But I crashed there in the shelter and chatted with the peeps there. No bad weather came our way. It was a nice end to the day.
An amazing day. Departed around 9AM. I took a side trail shortly after and headed for some cliffs where I was greeted by some mountain goats! It was so freaking sweet. Now, some of you might not know, but I am co-founder of the A.P.O.I.D.H. (Association for Pics or It Didn’t Happen). So here ya have it:
BOOYAKASHA! It was so tight. I headed out and a ways down a runner stopped and we got to chatting. He gave me a PB&J energy bar that he said he always eats for his runs. My first trail magic!
The great thing about the journey is that I can take my time to see the sites. I came across Gathland State Park. The land used to belong to George Alfred Townsend, a war correspondent during the Civil War. There was a lot of memorabilia and history here. A must stop IMHO. Once I headed out from there, sure enough, more trail magic. An ice chest full of Coca-Colas. It was the best coke I’ve ever had.
The hike on this day wasn’t as bad as the day before. I met several hikers Grizzly, Messy Garage, Apple Butter, and Hotdog. I stayed at the Dahlgren Campground, it was a great day.
Planning when to go into towns and stuff can be quite the tribulation. I was going to go into town on this day and even set off down the road to do so. I needed to get some laundry done, resupply, and update this site. I still had enough food to eat but it was getting low. The library didn’t open until way later and I had no where to grab a good shower so I changed my mind as I was heading into town. With that, some blue blazes and back, I had a 15 mile day this day. I wanted to go into town on day 4 early in the morning so I pressed further on. I was sitting at the Pogo Campsite debating whether or not to press on. It was 5 o’clock, the sun sets around 8 something. I know having a giant mass called a mountain blocking the sun can sure make things go dark a lot quicker too. That 5 miles was pretty brutal. Rocks. Nothing but rocks seemingly the whole way. Those are hard on the feet. I told myself that I would be rewarded with a big ass pizza the next day. That was my motivation. Luckily, there was the Free State Hiker Hostel or a shelter that I could have stayed at the end of the day. I chose the former. Another hiker who started in Harpers Ferry like myself, was there and actually already had half a pizza he wasn’t going to finish. Jackpot. I was able to shower, do laundry, recharge batteries, and update. Double Jackpot. This was all last night. I will be going into town this morning to resupply and head back out on the trail. Here are some pics from day 3:
Me on top of Washington Monument:
Hope y’all enjoyed it. Time to press on.