The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Hikers

Vilkommen Sports Fans!

In this episode, we update the doings of the past few days and aim forward.  Happy to have you join along for all the hijinks!

FrankenFlop Progress

We started off well, Wayster drove to my house to unload his gear into my car, and we left home (north of Baltimore, the Land of Dead Bridges) at about 6:30 a.m. on Friday.  We met Strags at the Dahlgren/South Mountain Inn at 9:00, transferred all gear to Strags’s truck, and parked at Harpers Ferry.  In HF, we got our tags at the ATC HQ, following an entertaining LNT orientation (thank you, Steve and Dottie!), had a requisite last coffee and brownie, and started North.  Strags has NOBO tag (from HF) #4, and I have #5, which is Brooks Robinson’s number (google him, an icon in Baltimore), and Wayster got one as well, although this trip would likely be all he can do this year.

Over the river and to the woods, to Ed Garvey’s crib we went.  Wayster has a farm, and had a little accident while doing some electrical work in a barn on a crappy cold day, his hip was noticeably bothering him (think of the straight-leg walk of the Tin Man), but we got up Weverton on a beautiful morning and made it to Garvey, where I tented while Strags and Wayster stayed in the shelter, one on each of the two levels in this shelter.  I missed the late arrival of some hikers from DC, who decided to tent as well instead of sharing the shelter — can’t say I blame them!

In the morning, we went up to Rocky Run, Wayster enjoyed both looking at the stonework of the area and the history.  Nice day, we all tented and zipped up to South Mountain, where we got into my car, drove to Keys Gap, and hiked back to HF.  Reason?  Strags and I now have hiked from Ashby Gap in VA thru wherever-we-finish-on this, and when we go down to GA and head north in April, we will be excused from re-hiking this section (towards however-far North we get on this trip, so we can take a week off in June.  This plan is officially approved by my wife).

BACK up to tent out at Dahlgren, where Mike from NC was also camped.  Next morning, breakfast in Boonsboro (Go Warriors!), we drove there but Mike walked.  A few minutes of howdy’s later, we continued to car-shuffle north.  Next stop:  Pine Knob, on a chilly day, I just couldn’t stay very warm.  We enjoyed watching Wayster getting ready to moon the excited fans/drivers on Rte 70 bridge, which he did with the encouragement of a local minister who said he’d do it too, if he didn’t live nearby.

On to Pine Knob, getting colder, Nomad was in the shelter and offered us a beer each when we got there — Thanks Nomad!  Be sure to pack out those bottles, folks, it’s a pain, but the beer was cold.  So was I.  My tent partly collapsed as the lock wasn’t tight, and I had to get out to re-do it, in the cold (need better legwear for warmth).  Interestingly, I slept great!  But packing up in the morning (it snowed/freezing rained around 5:00 a.m.) sucked, and I was shivering, so I bolted early and told Strags and Wayster I’d meet them at the next stop, Ensign Cowell.  I think they were concerned about me, but understood I needed to move; they left 30 minutes or so later.

On my hike, I passed Mike again, as well as two groups out on Spring Break from Connecticut College, which happens to be my mother’s alma mater.  Go Camels!!  Once at Cowell, I set up in the shelter and gathered wood so Wayster could have his fire (this was one of his must-do’s).  They arrived an hour or so later, said they had passed Mike on the descent to camp, and he looked rough.  We were going for pizza in my car (car flopping has its perks), and we saw Mike sitting on the side of the road with a not-so-happy look on his face, so we offered to bring him into town, he was grateful!  In town, we decided Mike was coming along to collect Dave’s truck from South Mountain Inn and offered to buy us pizza!  We went to Jeovani’s in Boonsboro, where we had two of arguably the best pizzas I have ever eaten — bucket list this one, you will not be sorry!

Back to Cowell, where we met Chief, an annual LASHer from Florida, and got ourselves and Mike set up in the shelter.  Next a fire, then beddy-bye.  Around 9:30 another hiker came in, with a pizza and a sub — this was Nightshift, attempting a Calendar-Year Triple Crown (CYTC), he quietly ate and set up with us.  Check out his YouTube channel, under JaRu Hikes — he’s had an adventure!  And what a night it was…. At Pine Knob, you clearly hear trucks backfiring as they head down Rte 70.  At Cowell, we formed the US Olympic Snoring Team, and Mike was our leader.  Drily, I will say it was “Impressive”.

We flipped up over the PA border to do miles up to Caledonia so we could stay at Thru It All Ministry and Hiker Hostal, the people are just the best there and they love hikers!!  A great shower later, we enjoyed the Wednesday night free dinner, and also joined in for a Pentecostal service, which was new to me.  Believer or not, the atmosphere was uplifting and electric, and I am glad we attended!

We slack-packed the next couple of days due to weather (cold and then rainy), and Chief was there when we returned on the 2nd night.  Mike got a ride from us when we returned to do Cowell to Penmar (he went shorter, to Raven Rock), and then late that night we got the call that Wayster’s mother-in-law had died.  Next morning, Strags and Chief stayed in due to cold and rain, while I took Wayster to my house, where he jumped in his car to get home. Wayster may join us later in the summer for a night, and while the end was abrupt, the time in between was great.  Ya done good, Markie-Mark!  Next day, Strags and I dropped Chief off at the trailhead (hope to see you again!) and finished the one missing section in PA prior to Caledonia.

Whew, that’s a lot.  We are all at home now, having completed in 2024 all miles from Rte 50 in VA to Rte 30 in PA.  Strags and I are boarding Amtrak in a week to head to Springer, we will further update following that.  I hear Norovirus has already run rampant down there, and bed bugs are an issue in hotels…. good times, man.  Thanks for tagging along, I hope to get better at this writing thing!

Affiliate Disclosure

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.

What Do You Think?