Take Me Home, Country Roads
We’ve been singing it since we hit the 18-mile southern border of West Virginia! We had time to perfect it through the Shenendoahs and up and down the roller coaster; you can hear our tramily sing it on my Instagram. (catmando2019)
Our good buddy Swede hiked us in some pinot grigio, chips, dip, and a pairing of peeps and Reese’s eggs for trail magic at the David Lesser Memorial Shelter situated perfectly nine miles from Harpers Ferry the evening before.
We concluded an arduous day on the roller coaster to be greeted with a solid campfire and trail magic and Swede’s friendly smile. I love hiker reunions! The stars were shimmering though my nightly sojourn, though I failed to spot the meteor showers I couldn’t help but notice the close proximity of Venus to the moon—striking! Tomorrow surely will be an epic / iconic type of day.
7.1 miles into our hike we started singing take me home country roads as we ran literally the remaining 1.9 miles to Harpers Ferry, making our trek to the ATC headquarters in 2.5 hours. There, Lucky and I shared our yearbook pose together as number 30 and 31 respectively reaching the halfway point (unofficial).
Our next magic came from a great friend and colleague I hadn’t seen in a few years but I stay in touch with, my buddy Greg Schuler, who made some amazing beef jerky for the tramily along with granola bars, cheese and crackers, and a handy size Honey JD to help cap off the day’s end. Our third angel of the day was my daughter Haley’s sorority sister Paula Sutherland, who brought Jimmy Johns for our tramily and extended tramily at the Tea Horse hostel. What an angel!
Day 67 is a scheduled zero, only nine days since our last zero, but it was over 250 hiking miles since! So off to DC to do some touring and share some Americana with Togs and her dad, Diehard. We rented electric scooters and went from Union Station stopping at the Capitol, White House, Washington and Lincoln monuments, WW II and Vietnam memorials, National Archives, and on to Arlington and Georgetown to finish our day.
Day 68, with rested and fresh legs, feet and a resupply we hope to take advantage of the easier grade and push deep into Maryland with a 23.5-mile day. We overnighted at Pine Knob Shelter.
Day 69, we crossed over the Mason Dixon line and finished the day in Pennsylvania with another marathon plus day with a 26.3-mile day concluded at Tumbling Run Shelter. It was a very rainy and showery day.
Day 70 was absolutely a perfect hiking day, cool and breezy with a low in the 30s and a high of 50. We paced a modest 19.6-mile day at Birch Run Shelter, so tramily member Togs could catch up, her dad headed off trail after his one week hiking reunion with his daughter and returned to the UK. Togs did an amazing day hiking over 33 miles and arrived before 7 p.m.
Day 71 Started with us officially passing the AT halfway north point ( 1,096). We strategically planned to lay up 9.6 miles from Pine Grove Furnace for the legendary ice cream challenge so we’d arrive right around noon. We were serendipitously greeted by an appreciative group of Boy Scouts that gave us an ovation at the general store. They then purchased our half-gallon ice creams for the challenge. Fittingly, I chose Hershey’s chocolate and completed my challenge in 22.5 minutes. Incredulously, I never stood a chance to break the questionable 5:48 record. Their freezer keeps the ice cream rock hard and my time was spent chiseling the ice cream just to eat it. I asked to microwave it but was denied. Undeterred, I pushed on and had the hiker burger ( their biggest burger)and a cup of coffee chaser. We visited the lovely ATC museum, which was a don’t miss on the trail, and completed a wonderful 25.1-mile day with a rock scramble near to the shelter that was rather fun. At the shelter I caught up to another early NOBO who adjusted his plan to flip flop—my pal Walking Home from Maine.
Now for next week…
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