Up at 5AM after a short night of the wind howling and rain driving into the side of the house. After ten days being off work getting ready for the hike this was the worst weather we had seen. Things didn't look much better when I checked the computer weather picture, rain from WV back to IN. Threw the packs in the car and pulled out of the drive at 5:30. Ran down to Mansville and picked up PJ a dear friend who is driving our car back home after we get to Harpers Ferry. Driving down I-81 the wind and rain abated little and we were considering spending the night at a hostel.
We arrived in Harpers Ferry about 3:30PM then headed straight for the Trail HQ. Did some looking around, took the start photos for the HQ book then said our good-bys. Alone again on the trial with many miles to go before we finish. It was a short walk down to the outfitters and new tips on our trekking poles. The rain had stopped while we were at the HQ. Walking down the hill the sky opened up again. The Lord was with us and by the time we had finished with the outfitter the sky was clearing. Time to leave town and hit the trail.
Reaching the bottom of the hill and the end of town we were greeted by about 6 people all hefting packs to their shoulders and starting up the trail. We made some quick small talk to see which way and how far they intended on walking today. Everyone was headed for the Garvey Shelter. Leaving town we crossed a foot bridge over the Potomac River and linked up with The C&O Canal trail that parallels the Potomac for a few miles. It was a walking traffic jam, passing, no turn signals, dodging mud puddles and people on bikes. Soon enough the hikers sorted themselves out and CC and I were out in front by a long shot. The canal is still in place but not used. The turtles have claimed it as their own and were sunning as we passed, splashing into the brackish water if we ventured too close for a photo.
Soon enough the white double blaze marking a hard turn came into view. The trail made a hard right and started up hill. The guy at the outfitters overstated the toughness of the incline and we took it at a nice pace. Dogwoods, Flame Azalea, May Apple all bloomed around us filling the air with that fresh, just rained woodsy smell we had missed all winter. We chatted about how nice it was to be back walking, our only cares were how far to the shelter, would there be a good tent site and would the rain hold off until after supper.
We made it to the shelter by 6:15PM. Claimed the most level site and had the tent up in no time. There were a few folks already holed up and all were staying in the two story log shelter. The place looked real nice, except for the sign indicating water was almost 1/2 mile down a "STEEP" hill. The walk down was ok, but with 1.5gal of water to tote back to the shelter..... Lets just say I broke a bit of a sweat on the walk up the hill. Supper went well and we finished just as it was getting dark. After clean up, we stood around a fine fire one of the other guys built talking trail. After we arrived a total of 10 other hikers arrived, all weekend hikers.
CC is wrapped up in her new sleeping bag cooing about how nice it is, a breeze is rustling the leaves and it is time to call it a day. 6.4 miles today, not bad for an afternoons walk.
Patrick, Deborah Mooney aka OD & CC
All Who Wander Are Not Lost
Tot: 5.584s; Tpl: 0.028s; cc: 11; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0285s; 3; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb