I had decided that I was going to take a longer backpacking trip this fall, hopefully around the beginning of October or so. Wehn I decided to hike the Maryland sacetion of the AT, Dancer decided she wanted to go as well and suggested that we wait until November so we could join in the MAHHA Fall Hang. It was then decided that we'd stay at the hang one night and then continue on to Harper's Ferry, WV, thereby completing the entire Maryland section. Somewhere along the line, fellow HF member Miksmi (now known as VegaMike) decided he'd be interested in joining us, so he came along for the hike.
Pen-Mar Park to Devil's Racecourse Shelter
We made our way to Harpers Ferry after driving most of the night, leaving Charlotte just a bit after midnight. We met VegaMike and our shuttler, Merry Mary at the NPS parking lot and headed for Pen-Mar Park. We decided on a short day for our first day out since we had to drive throught the night to get to Harpers Ferry for our start. Mary dropped us off at the road just north of Pen-Mar and we took the usualy pre-hike start pictures.
We started off on nice, well graded trail, taking the short stroll to Pen-Mar for more pics.
As we left Pen-Mar, we began to head up a climb or 2, coming across the many rocks that would be the prevailing theme of the hike. Plenty of climbing to do on day 1, but it was a short day, so no worries.
At the top of the climb, there was a great view of the valley below, with more time for pics. The weather was, IMO, really picture perfect hiking weather.
We arrived at Devil's Racecourse Shelter not terribly later and began the usualy camp chores of gathering water, setting up shelter, hanging bear line (I was out of practice, the GA/NC/TN shelters with bear cables have me spoiled), making dinner and, of course, socializing. While we worked on camp chores, out shuttle, Merry Mary showed up to say hi. It was a nice surprise and we enjoyed her visit immensely. After dinner, we turned in early to get an early start the next morning.
Devil's Racecourse Shelter to Pogo Memorial Campsite
Our second day out, we got up, ate, took down camp, packed and headed out. It was a fairly steep climb out of Devil's Racecourse Shelter back up to the AT. Once we got there, we had great, albeit rocky, hiking for some time. The weather was again beautiful, but cool, and we enjoyed the day's hike immensely.
After our first road crossing, Dancer and I split up a for a while as VegaMike and I hiked ahead to Ensign Cowall Shelter. We met Dancer there for lunch. We had good trail with some nice open fields and pastures to hike through. We found Ensign Cowall in excellent shape with a nice, fairly clean privy.
After lunch, VegaMike hiked ahead toward Pogo and I hiked with Dancer. We did a little climbing, then came across some nice, well graded trail. It was nice hiking and we made excellent time as we followed it.
We arrived at Pogo shortly before dark and quickly made with camp chores, etc and turned in for the night.
Pogo Memorial Campsite to Dahlgren Backpacker's Campground
After the usualy morning thing, we left Pogo, headed for Dahlgren's to camp the night. Our hike was again beautiful, but cool. After a short hike and a little bit of climbing, we came across Annapolis Rocks. Of course, we had to blue blaze the trail and check out the view. We were well rewarded for our walk there.
After enjoying the view, getting a few pictures and walking back up the blue blaze, we mounted up and headed back out, trying to make the I-70 overpass quickly. On the way, we passed the blue blaze for Pine Knob Shelter.
We got to I-70, headed up the trail and VegaMike hiked ahead of us, trying to stay warm. Dancer and I came across another hiker just as we stopped for lunch and we began to get a little drizzle, our only significant rain of the whole trip. The other hiker was headed the opposite way as we were and had bad news. Dahlgren's was already winterized and there was no water there. After finding this out, we continued to hike on and came across Jabberwocky a little while later.
She was finishing her flip-flop thru hike in Front Royal, VA and was less than 50 miles away. Congrats!
After a little more hiking and climbing we came across the original Washington Monument.
After we hit the monument, we caught back up with VegaMike at the parking lot where we filled up on water, took a break and washed our hands with soap and
water. It's funny what you take for granted when out hiking sometimes. We made it to Dahlgren's in good time with plenty of light left.