A roller coaster of mountains & emotions on the AT
Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times please
Well maybe not this time cause you’ll need all the muscle in your legs to power you up, and strong arms to hold a sturdy pair of trekking poles to control on the way down through the 13.5 miles of the Roller Coaster.
Yes you read that correctly, 13.5 miles of steep ups and downs. We were warned by many before we got there and a few section hikers cringed when we asked them about their ride through it.
Buuuuuuut it was a piece of cake! I would climb the roller coaster ten times over again before I did the Priest and 3 Ridges. Those are cringe worthy. Maybe it helped that we were going from one hostel to another and we’re fueled by pizza and ice cream, but I think it was a mix of having great trail legs and those other hikers over exaggerating.
Halfway there (psychologically)
I went in to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harper’s Ferry, WV and became Northbound hiker number 42! (I started at Amicolola Falls as #58) While this was once the actual halfway point long ago, the trail has been re-routed and miles have been added but it’s still close enough that many consider it halfway at least psychologically.
It’s raining it’s pouring, everybody’s snoring
A zero day is way more tempting on a rainy day, especially when I’m already at a hostel. The last week on the trail has been very gloomy and gray in terms of weather and little bit of it seeped into my spirits too. Something about being wet, cold and tired just makes me wanna crawl into bed, crazy right?
Well that’s exactly what I did in Harper’s Ferry….After a day of exploring Washington, DC! I rode my very first train explore the Capitol (also another first for me). Rode a train, metro, bike and car all in one day ?
But all of the exploring on our day off of hiking wasn’t really rest and it was taking its toll on my body. After a little sleep at Tumbalina’s apartment (AT 2016 Sobo hiker) I woke up the next day with a plan to do a 20 mile day out of Harper’s Ferry in hopes of going with my plan to make it to Bear Mountain, NY by May 13. And like most mornings that I have service, I called my mama to chat on my way to the trail. Lonnng story short- I broke down in tears from exhaustion, homesickness and fear. I didn’t want to do a 20 mile day and leave my tramily, heck I didn’t want to hike at all that day. It was rainy, early, and I was hungry and I was tired.
I did as my mom said and turned around. Tumbalina let me take a nap at her place while she volunteered at the Flip Flop festival. I waited for my friends to return from their resupply so that we could hike a short and sweet 10 miles together and stay with one of their friends that evening and all is well.
Made it to the actual halfway point on 4/25/17! (This is the old sign though, it was after this year’s Midway sign, but that one wasn’t a cool as this one?)
I got too caught up in the making the miles part of hiking that I was starting to miss out on the smiling part of it. Which brings me to….
The pancake challenge!
Goodies Restaurant in Duncannon, Pennsylvania has a challenge that only includes stuffing your face with 8 pancakes. What hiker wouldn’t try it!? Answer: the smart one. My hiker hunger was no match for this stack! I got about two and a half pancakes deep before I admitted defeat ?
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