Half-way or Halfway?
Are we Half-way or Halfway?
Rambo and I have walked over 1100 miles to get here which means we are done with half of the trail. In the great words of Drake, “Started from the bottom, now we’re here!” Okay, so he’s not that great at all or really anything that he does. We are though!
Rambo and I have visited our families twice so far. Our first time, we got off trail at Spy Rock Road near Montebello, Virginia and were picked up by Rambo’s little brother, Mic. The next time getting off trail we were picked up by Mr. and Mrs.Rambo themselves near Harper’s Ferry, WV at a friend of a friend’s house that we’ll get to later. At home it was nice to see family and friends. Not only is it good to let them know that we’re alive, but we also convinced them that we’re having fun, not dying of departed toenails, and that we’re actually thriving on our diet of Cosmic Brownies, Ramen and, “The Taste of Mexico” Tortillas! Everyone, everywhere apparently says how hard it is to come back to the trail after being at home for a couple of days. Neither of us had any problem leaving to get back at it but I’m guessing that it’s only because our families have been nothing but supportive of our journey thusfar. Thanks again for all the love, support and baked goodies that keep us going! (Oh yeah, the eggrolls were pretty bomb too!!!)
Goodbye to Virginia
It was hard to say goodbye to our home state because it’s pretty much the best one on the trail. (Except for the 19 straight days of rain that it showed us up to and through Shenandoah National Park!) First a quick letter to SNP.
Where are your bears?
Rambo and Cupcake!
We haven’t seen a single bear on the trail. WTF!? I guess we’ll just have to wait until New Jersey to get our glimpses at those magical beasts! Toward the end of Va. we definitely got a blessing by coming along the Jim and Molly Denton Shelter after a few straight days of ‘steal your shoe’ mud and ‘fuck my life’ rain. It’s a pretty sweet shelter with a nice porch, cooking pavilion, solar shower, horseshoes, and bear pole. This homey shelter spoils you right before entering the infamous ROLLER COASTER! Not as fun as it sounds, the ROLLER COASTER is a series of 400-500ft steep, rockyclimbs with no views directly on the trail. Luckily for us, we decided to stop and dry out at the PATC’s Bear’s Den Hostel where we sat around, watched a few movies and gorged ourselves with pizza, ice-cream, and coffee! (Ice-cream was super necessary in order to prepare for the famed ½ gallon challenge!) The hostel turned out to be a nice way to say goodbye and we took off for the great Westest of Virginia’s!
In short, kind of like the part of the A.T. that runs through the state (The A.T. only has about 5 miles of trail in WV.), WV was pretty sweet! Hiking down to the Shenandoah River and Crossing the bridge to get to Harper’s Ferry was amazing. The rushing river below with trail winding through steep rocks cascading with run-off from the previous days rain combined with a confirmed line of sight of the, ‘Mental Half-way’ point was almost too much to take in all at once. I walked into Harper’s Ferry overcome with joy, the feels, and an egregious sensory overload. It was pretty much just a great feeling. Our first stop in Harper’s was the ATC where we did the usual thru-hiker things that usual thru-hikers do. Obligatory ATC Picture, send postcard home, drink too much soda, take picture in mini-shelter behind 3-D Topo Map of the A.T. After that, Jane Pinson, our neighbor from home, Diane’s friend, brought us to her home and cooked us a good ole’ WV lunch. (Not sure if that’s what it’s called but it is what it is.) She baked up ham, mac n’ cheese, greenbeans & potatoes, Hawaiian rolls and also fed us BEER! THANKS JANE IT WAS ALL AWESOME!
Okay, not really. Just Maryland. If either of my bosses at Echo read this, VA>MD (The math works out…) but it was still a pretty freaking awesome time for us on the A.T. Maryland holds my first official, ‘thumb-out’ hitchhike and we met some pretty rad hikers also! As far as the trail in MD goes, it was also short and sweet. The shelters were in pretty great shape with very active caretakers and ridge-runners who were uber friendly!
The Land of Goosepoop. (PA)
Okay, I’m not sure why we call it goosepoop, but that’s what it’s called to Rambo and me! As everyone promised, there are, in fact, rocks and rattlesnakes in PA! I saw both of them on my first day here!
The terrain is pretty mild with nice views and LOTS AND LOTS of rocks. We walked into Pine Grove State Park today and took full advantage of its amenities, eating a hiker-burger first thing at 10:30 after putting down about ten miles this morning! After that we went straight for the ½ Gallon Challenge.
SPOILER ALERT: We ate ½ Gallon of Hershey’s Ice-cream. It actually wasn’t bad for Rambo and me though! I finished in a little under 19 minutes and Rambo came in around 23! Most of our hiker friends did the challenge but with varying degrees of difficulty. NOVA, Shooting Star and Bullfrog blazed right through it. River, Oats, and Rocky managed to finish after pushing through the food-wall but Fortune Cookie and Pup couldn’t quite manage to push it into full lactose overload and came up a bit short. There’s also Vice who didn’t attempt the challenge on the claimed grounds of being too new to the trail! After we dispersed on the lawn for naps, all of us wandered down to the lake to go swimming. There was a very nice public beach with white sand and an abundance of friendly locals! Tonight we’re staying here at the park’s Ironmaster’s Hostel! The caretaker is a nice man with a nicer dog. Stella is an English Bullterrier, cute as can be and also super lovey. After playing with her for just a minute, she fell right asleep on my lap.
Half-way or Halfway?
It is nice to know that we are half-way done with the trail and that we only have one more half to go but it’s also sad because the time has come and gone so quickly! Whenever I start thinking too much about this conundrum I just try to remind myself that the best is yet to come. Even when the trail is over with, the best is still yet to come. The answer that I choose for the question of whether I am half-way, or halfway, is a clear and definite response of both.
Life is crazy and we’re just somewhere in the middle…
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