Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Fourth!

I would say that I had a pretty lovely week after leaving Front Royal. The miles coming out of the Shenandoah went pretty smoothly, that is until we got to the "Roller Coaster." The coaster is a 13.5mi section of trail that continuously goes up and over mountains. Up until this point, most of the trail has had a lot of switchbacks to get up and down the hills. Essentially the reason for the Roller Coaster is that many property owners around the trail didn't want to grant land rights to the ATC. Most of the trail is government owned, but some portions still lie on private property. So this particular section required the trail to go straight up and over mountains. Overall, it wasn't too bad. A lot of hype is thrown up around the Roller Coaster, but in reality the hiking isn't too hard and it's more of a head game. In the hot Virginia afternoon heat, I had a hard time finishing the last few miles, but somehow managed to pull it out.

This section of trail has an amazing group maintaining it - the Potomic Appalachian Trail Club. They must have a huge number of volunteers as well as a large endowment. They have paid ridgerunners, people who go from shelter to shelter to maintain the trail on a daily basis. That is a rarity along the trail. Also, the shelters in this area have been AMAZING! Huge decks, Adirondack chairs, horseshoe pits, and one even had an outdoor shower! Honestly, between frequent town days, the abundant food in the Shenandoah, and these high class digs... We've been pampered lately. One night this week we stayed at Bear's Den hostel which is this gorgeous stone building owned by the ATC. Caroline, Eric and I stayed there and HOUSED the full pizza and pint of ice cream that came with our stays.

The next day we met up with Alice, who was a day or so behind us. Caroline and Eric pushed on to camp just before the VA/WV border so they could attempt the four state challenge the next day. Alice and I were coming to Harpers Ferry, so we called it a short day and lounged at one of these Taj Mahal shelters - complete with a porch swing! The four state challenge (don't recall if I explained this yet) is  a 44 mile distance that starts in Virginia, covers the entire trail in West Virginia and Maryland and then ends in Pennsylvania. Caroline made it 34 miles before a pulled muscle helped her make the decision to back off. Eric was able to complete the whole thing and did it in amazing time! I'm truly in awe!

Once Alice and I got to Harpers Ferry, we found Audrey in the ATC headquarters and then went for some celebratory mimosas. Alice's mom and sister were so generous to rent this amazingly gorgeous and historic home here in HF. We've been doing laundry, watching Netflix, walking around town, and stuffing our faces with great food! Thank you so much to Kate and Jessie for their generosity! We should be back on trail sometime tomorrow to celebrate the fourth! Hopefully there will be an overlook to watch some fireworks from.

Happy Fourth, Everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Happy 4th of July Daniel you lots😍