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  1. #1
    Hooch's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Hooch and Dancer's Excellent Maryland Adventure

    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.

    Day 1
    5 Miles
    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.



    Day 2
    9.9 miles
    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.




    Day 3
    8.9 miles
    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.


    Last edited by Hooch; 11-12-2009 at 20:30.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  2. #2
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Looks like fun! Sure would be nice to spend that kind of time out in the woods! Maybe later
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Thanks for those pics Hooch! Lots of familiar views there. Making me a little
    misty.
    Trust nobody!

  4. #4
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    That sure looks like a great way to spend the week, Hooch! Thanks for the superb report.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  5. #5
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    What beautiful pictures! It was great meeting you both at the MAHHA outing. Thank you Dancer for your encouragement re:getting back into hiking. I can't wait to see your next posting.

  6. #6
    Member Dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tagalong View Post
    What beautiful pictures! It was great meeting you both at the MAHHA outing. Thank you Dancer for your encouragement re:getting back into hiking. I can't wait to see your next posting.
    It was very nice talking to you, hope to see you again soon.

  7. #7
    Hooch's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Day 4 & 5

    Day 4
    6.8 miles
    Dahlgren's Backpack Campground to Crampton Gap Shelter/MAHHA Fall Hang

    Cold! The day started pretty cold after we got up and started getting ready. I even hiked out in long sleeves, which I don't go unless I'm pretty doggone chilly.

    We left Pogo behind, heading out to Crampton Gap for the MAHHA Fall Hang to spend the night with "the hammock people". As Dancer and I hiked along at a nice pace for the day, we were talking about the frequent road crossings we had come across and that there was ample opportunity to bail if we had needed to. Fortunately, neither of us were so inclined. As we hiked on, we had aid that being so close to Crampton Gap and then on to Harpers Ferry, that nothing short of injury or illness could stop us from making it to the end of our hike. Then, about 20 minutes later, it happened. I was hiking along, tripped on a rock and fell on my right knee. I tried to walk ti off, but it began to swell pretty quick and began to hurt pretty bad. I tried to hike on with Dancer, but just couldn't keep up in pain. We agreed that we'd meet and Crampton Gap and she hiked ahead as I took a few quick pics from a beautiful overlook.



    I made my way to Cramton Gap where Dancer had arrived about 20 minutes ahead of me. We were the first ones there at the hang site and finally caught up with Capital Bill, JD and Sky.


    And, of course, eventually, we caught up with Happy Camper.

    We got to see old friends and make new ones and had a great time with the folks at the MAHHA hang. We helped make the campfire, had dinner and I turned in early, but was awakened a little later by the sound of Loser's concert around the campfire. It was nice to meet him the next morning just before Dancer headed out.


    Day 5
    10.5 miles (Dancer Only)
    Crampton Gap to Harpers Ferry

    We decided that Dancer was going to finish her hike in to Harpers Ferry, eventhough I couldn't make it with her. I was very proud of her for persevering on. We set Dancer up so that she wouldn't have to carry more than the contents of a well stocked day pack for the day. Off she went around 8am.


    I headed down for the group breakfast, ate, socialized and got a ride to Hapers Ferry from my buddy Happy Camper. Thanks, Tracy!! We headed in to town, saw a few sights and headed up to the ATC.



    Happy Camper headed back and I looked for a place to grab a snack while I waited for Dancer to get to town. I found the Secret Six Tavern and had a basket of fries and a nice, cold Potomac Ale on tap. Delicious!

    After a while, I began to slowly walk my way down to the AT and walked up the canal towpath while I waited for Dancer to make town. I hadn't walked much more than a half mile before she made it in. We walked into town together, went to the ATC, had her picture taken and headed to our hotel room to wash the hiker funk off. We got clean clothes on, hada nice dinner and got some well deserved rest. All in all, despite my injury, it was a good hike. I can't wait to go back and slack pack the Crampton Gap to Harpers Ferry section in the spring.

    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  8. #8
    Member Dancer's Avatar
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    Excellent report sugar....I'll hike with you anywhere and anytime! This was a trip I'll never forget and you captured it very well.

  9. #9
    Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dancer View Post
    Excellent report sugar....I'll hike with you anywhere and anytime! This was a trip I'll never forget and you captured it very well.
    Wait til we hit the Smokies in the Spring!
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  10. #10
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    Wow! I wish I had not gone back to work for three days, right in the middle of my 2 wk hang... I could have gone with you on this wonderful hike!

    Fantastic, Hooch & Dancer!

    - MacEntyre
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
    www.MollyMacGear.com

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