I Hate the Idea of You: The Challenge
We made it to Harpers Ferry and I almost cried! After checking in with the ATC, we shuttled ahead for trail magic in Maryland. The next morning was the morning Hooter and I would dread… she would get a rental car to go home.
We saw Washington DC in one day. It was beautiful, but very stressful for three hikers who are not used to traffic and having to avoid thousands of people all at once. It turned out to be great, though.
We went back to the trail magic campgrounds in Maryland so Hooter could say her goodbyes. The next morning, she dropped Durpadur and I off right before the Virginia/West Virginia state line. I’m numb at this point, so I avoided any emotions that goodbyes give. Not only was I losing my best friend, but my dog as well. I always knew my dog wouldn’t be able to handle a full thru-hike, but I figured she would at least handle the section she was on. She had a very hard time hiking in general. She would get too hot (which would make her moody), and not to mention what it was like trying to resupply or find a place to stay with her, so it was time for her to go as well.
It didn’t hit me that Hooter was gone until I turned around to say something and she wasn’t there. But it’s life and it’s never really a goodbye when it comes to the trail… I’ll see her later, so I’m not sweating it! So this is where 3 and a dog went down to 2.
Durpadur and I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were starting the 4 state in 24 hours challenge (leaving VA, crossing WV, hiking 40 miles thru Maryland, and crossing into PA). We both lost our updated A.T. guides to the river while aquablazing, so we were trying to go off of a tiny PDF that my former thru-hiker and high school friend, Bud, had sent me. This meant that without phone signal, we were blind. We decided we liked it better that way. Before we knew it, we had hiked 11 miles in under 4 hours. It was then we decided to go all the way and complete the challenge. We knew it was a stupid idea…. we hadn’t hiked since before our aquablaze, we both had new shoes to break in, and the weather…. not only did it rain, but it poured!
We hiked. We hiked into the rain and out of the rain. We hiked into the night and ate spiderwebs every couple of minutes. We hiked until our eyes were crossed. That’s when we risked taking a nap. We fast-pitched our tents on the first flat spot we came to after we realized we were both going to start hallucinating. We got lucky and the 3 hour nap was all we needed to get going again.
It was kind of a blur, but we realized we needed this challenge more than anything. As we hiked, we agreed that we were not where we wanted to be at this point in time. We needed to push ourselves harder. We needed to feel pain. We needed the infamous “trials” that everyone deals with on the trail. We made the decision to pretty much turn primative from this point on. And we are sticking to it! Then suddenly…. we made it…. I recognized a huge rock immediately from pictures and knew we were almost home free.
We had just a few more miles left to go and had to push harder than ever. And then, we finally saw that infamous sign we had been waiting for….
We had been discussing cheesecake for a few days and decided we deserved it. We got a ride into Waynesboro, PA and found an entire cheesecake while resupplying that wouldn’t last long at all!
Once we made it back to the trail, we set up camp about a half mile pass the Mason-Dixon line and passed out. We woke up the next morning to more rain and decided to hunker down for a while. We didn’t start hiking again until late because the rain didn’t want to let up, but I told Durpadur that we had to go. As we hiked again in the rain, I asked Durp if he hated me for getting him out of a nice cozy tent. His response was, “I hate the idea of you, but it was needed”. My original trail name was Moth Balls, and about a day after I was named, I was given the title of “Sgt”… for good reasons. I was a bad ass and always on top of everything. At some point in VA, I lost it. It was time I gained my title back. It was time I turned back into a bad ass and not the little bitch I became. It was time for me to be “Sarg in charge” again.
We made it 10 miles before it got dark. We were in a whole different world and the accommodations were extremely nice. Some shelters in PA are double sided with “snoring” and “non-snoring” sections, which would temp me to actually stay in a shelter.
We set out early the next morning all about business. We realized how many trees the storms had taken down over the passed couple of days and were both thankful to not be stuck under one. It was definitely a danger zone.
Pennsylvania is far prettier than I imagined, and my morale is high. Before we knew it, we made it to the official 2015 midway point.
After the midway point, we watched the Wild Boys complete not only the half gallon challenge, but burgers as well. I wasn’t about to get sick off of ice cream… no way!
We also had lunch and hiked a little with our favorite ginger with an afro, Tex.
We are now in Boiling Springs, which is a delightful little town. After days of walking through flooded paths and climbing over fallen trees, we felt like we deserved a short break. Sgt. Moth Balls is officially ready to take on the north!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.