A home cooked meal
We were in luck and enjoyed a nice night in the shelter by ourselves. This will hopefully be the norm going forward, with the exception being on weekends as the summer is long gone as are the NOBOs. The bugs were almost nonexistent and we had heard owls calling late last night as well as a bear snuffling in the distance. Luckily the bear didn’t try to investigate the shelter or the large metal bear box our food was in.
Gourmet and Cast Iron came through about 5:30AM attempting the quad state challenge (40+ miles through 4 states). We were already in the process of disentangling ourselves from our sleeping bags and enjoyed the the early morning conversation while they took a break at the picnic table. They set off from the Maryland border at 2AM under headlight. We wished them luck and hope to see them again down the trail.
We got on trail a little before the sun rose, we enjoyed watching the the peachy pink light shine through the trees. This may also become more normal again as daylight becomes more scarce. To our dismay, the rocks didn’t seem to stop at the Pennsylvania border (wishful thinking these state borders were physical barriers to the rocks). We continued to navigate around them but after a few miles, the trail opened up into a very narrow dirt single track road. We imagined these trails being carved out during the Civil War, as troops carried heavier packs than us while others pushed cannons and pack mules carried cargo.
We took a nice long second breakfast at Annapolis Rocks which offered nice views of the Maryland countryside as well as many battlefields. As we have crossed the Mason Dixon line it has been interesting to see the shift of history; where we grew up in the Northeast, the focus is usually on the decades leading up to the Revolutionary war, now with every step further south the focus is on the Civil War era.
Shortly after 11:30PM we arrived at the original Washington Monument, from the top, Antietam could be seen. A few minutes later, Field Medic came trail running through. He is from the area and is being slack packed to Harper’s Ferry, his family has his backpack and will drive it to Harper’s Ferry to meet him. This is also where we met Hayley’s uncle, Adam, who will bring us back home with him to enjoy a night off the trail. It is nice to be done hiking for the day at noon.
We arrived in Potomac, MD and enjoyed lunch, catching up with Hayley’s aunt, Mitzi and giving Smoke, the dog, lots of scratches. We took gloriously long showers and borrowed some clean clothes. Once the grooming was done we had to complete some chores. We filled a bathtub with water and investigated the slow leak in Eric’s mattress pad. No telltale bubbles formed underwater so we will have to look for a new one for now.
We headed to the nearby REI (Hayley driving the immortal red prius) and picked up a few things. Sadly there was a shortage of mattress pads so Eric will have to live with the deflating pad for now. In the plaza, something caught Hayley’s eye and we went to investigate. To our delight it was a build your own ice cream sandwich store, The Baked Bear, of course we’ll eat this!
With bellies full and sugar buzzing, we set off to complete our food resupply. As always we purchased a little more than we needed but know it will all get eaten.
Back at the house, we enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal of chicken kebabs and kale salad. We were happy to replenish the fresh vegetable deficit we have from the trail. Hayley’s cousin, Josh, also arrived for dinner. We enjoyed catching up and talking about our experiences on the AT. For dessert, Hayley’s aunt prepared apple crisp a la mode! Eric’s favorite but he still had Hayley pose for the photo. After dinner we finished packing up our bags and happily climbed into a nice soft bed for the night.
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