Our First 30+ Day

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Forge at an overlook

Decided to make up a bit of ground we had lost with all this heat and try for a thirty mile day. We camped about 5 miles outside of Boiling Springs and hiked through town to pick up our mail drop so we would have food for dinner in case we didn’t make it all the way to Duncannon the way we were planning. Continue reading

The Countdown Begins!

At the Half Way Sign

We passed the midpoint of the trail towards the end of the day on the 29th, but were confused because there was no marker like we had expected from the guidebook. When we got into camp that night, we talked with some other hikers who were similarly confused, until a southbounder came in and reported that just a half mile past the shelter was where the halfway marker was located. We had some good photo opportunities the next morning, they even had a post across from the marker so that we could set our camera there and take a photo of both of us! Continue reading

Hiking into Maryland and Hanging out with the Gandenbergers

Harpers Ferry Sign

Leaving Harpers Ferry we crossed a bridge that took us into Maryland, which meant after being in Virginia for over 3 weeks we have passed through a state in less than two days. Some people try for the four state challenge meaning they camp very close to the end of Virginia and then hike through West Virginia and Maryland. They make it into the southern edge of Pennsylvania with over 40 miles of distance under their belts for the day. We decided against the idea because we wanted a chance to see Harpers Ferry and visit with Greg and his wonderful family. Continue reading

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Hiccup and Forge at ATC Headquarters

We hiked the 20 miles from Bear’s Den Hostel, out of the state of Virginia where we have been for over three weeks, and into Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. We made it into town too late to go to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters, but we did enjoy some delicious pizza from a local pizzeria and have a good rest before exploring more the next morning, and going to the ATC headquarters to get our picture taken by their sign and be officially recorded as the 147 and 148th thru-hikers for this year to pass through. They keep photo albums of all the hikers that come through Harpers Ferry each year. It was fun to look through the old albums and see hikers we have met from previous years. Continue reading

Bear Commotion

turtle

Two more days of hiking saw us past the end of Shenandoah National Park, and to a campsite where, as I sat cooking dinner, an older bear cub came running over the ridge headed straight for us taking one look at us and realizing maybe he should run straight through our campsite he quickly changed course and sprinted over the ridge in a different direction. Needless to say we were extra careful in making sure we got all of our food and trash into our bear bags. The rest of the night was uneventful, and we were glad to have had an adorable bear experience and not the unsavory issue of being left without food.
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Shenandoah National Park, Bears, Slackpacking, and Good Friends

View in the Shenandoahs

We saw our first bear! We were hiking quickly to get to our campground for the evening because a thundercloud was rolling in, when we startled a bear cub that was sitting next to the trail. It took off too fast for us to get a picture, but with no mama bear in sight we decided it was best to get moving. So we spent the next ten minutes or so walking as fast as we could up an incline while talking loudly. Nothing bothered us, so I suppose our shortness of breath was worth it. Continue reading

Lost Raincoats, and a Couple of Rest Days

New Shoes for Forge

Hiked a slow day from our resupply at a bed and breakfast in Montebello in some hot hazy weather, only to arrive at our campsite for the night, and for me to realize I had left my rain coat in our room. In normal life this might not be that big of a deal, but considering all of the cold rain we have had recently I was very aware of my need for a raincoat. When we are hiking my raincoat is important for helping me stay dry, for blocking out wind, and as the outer layer of my warmest clothes at this point. Basically, it is very important, and it was supposed to rain the next day! We went to bed having decided we would try and make the 27 mile hike all the way into Waynesboro, VA the next day so that if I did get completely soaked during the day at least I would have a warm and dry place to stay to look forward to. Continue reading

An Aptly Named Thunder Mountain

Spring is starting

The 6th was the rainiest day since we started the trail, and by the time we got to the shelter we were soaked, despite our rain gear. Fortunately the shelter was a very large, and very nice shelter. The Bryant Ridge Shelter had two stories of sleeping space, plus a lower area for cooking, eating, and in this case: hanging clotheslines to dry out clothing. The shelter had space for 20 people, and was full. This was just the first in several days of forecast rain, so we weren’t sure what would happen since all the shelters we would be coming to in the next few days only slept 6 people. Continue reading

McAfees Knob

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Us at McAffees Knob

This one location gets its own post because it is so iconic. This rock formation that juts horizontally our from a cliff is probably one of the most photographed on the AT. We hiked past it on a lovely Saturday so it was swarming with day hikers, but we enjoyed the extremely well manicured trail to the top none the less, and had fun explaining to lots of folks about thru-hiking. Continue reading