18APR2012 Miles 5.4 Temp. 47*F
Landing in D.C. at 1510hrs., with a quick peek out the window told me my hike would begin in the rain. A short ride on the subway & a Vietnamese dinner, I was on the C&O Canal, a steady drizzle the entire time. Setting up camp next to Little Falls, I settled in for night as the rains came down hard making for a dreamy night.
19APR2012 Miles 22.9 Temp. 44*F
As the fog lifted, Mother Earth revealed her beauty to me. Hitting the Billy Goat Trail for lunch, I dined creek side. Great Falls overlook displayed her majestic power, as I pondered those whom first traversed such rugged grace. My path crossing with " Captain Kirk" , the Hiking Humanitarian and his wife Cindy. They were finishing up the American Discovery Trail with 4600 miles completed, their spirits and souls so gentle one couldn't help but to be lulled by these Peaceful Nomads.
20APR2012 Miles 24.1 Temp. 52*F
The C&O has it's own special appeal, what it lacks in mountain top vistas, one is compelled by it's rich history. As I tread along this towpath I long for the days of yesteryear, the pioneer spirit is alive and well, feeling it as I meander down the path of my forefathers. I thank the Settlers as I am in awe of this American Classic, knowing this towpath was once the lifeline for those that made the U.S.A. great.
21APR2012 Miles 15.7 Temp. 47*F
Waking, knowing you have a easy hike ahead makes for light feet. After years of yearning to see Harpers Ferry, I was vastly rewarded by hiking into her. I truly enjoyed the antiquated buildings and the scrumptious burger at the Secret Six Tavern. Visiting the ATC was my first encounter with " Groundhog", our paths would cross again. While walking up to meet ABHarris, the rains came again. The grill was hot, the company warm, Stirred Up & Dale joining for a heavenly dinner, feeding not only my belly but my soul as well, just what the Dr. ordered.
22APR2012 Miles 8.1 Temp. 36*F
A country breakfast with my gracious host, I was off to the AT, joined by falling temps and rain. As I glided by Weverton Cliffs, I reminisced back to the fall when hiking with the amigos I'd soon be joining. Approaching the Ed Garvey, a feeling of coming home overcame me for this where lifelong friendships were forged months prior. Finding a fellow hiker, wet, cold and famished, learning he protected our freedom while others slept, I parted with a note thanking him and a bit of trail magic while he slept.
23APR2012 Miles 17.1 Temp. 34*F
Not hearing the rain as I awoke was a welcomed silence, a brief glimpse divulged why - SNOW. Gaining elevation the white madness turning my spring hike into winter wonderland, there was a little snow on the ground which added a dramatic appearance. Wet, slushy and cold the march continued NOBO, making camp at Rocky Run, a first time hiker provided entertainment while chef "Disco" the color commentary. We shared hot tea, swapping trail experiences on a windy, sleet driven night.
24APR2012 Miles 19.7 Temp. 33*F
With a deadline looming at Pen-Mar, the day begins before dawn, crisp cool air filling my lungs with the energy of the day anew. The glimmering Andalusian Sun sparkled golden radiance on the pristine snowy blanket as it peeked over the ridge, warming the day, melting the flakes, filling the creeks with refreshing liquids. Raven Rocks giving me the best nature has to offer. Cresting High Rock the graffiti colored rocks somehow co-existing in perfect unison as it gave way to the breathtaking view of the valley below. Crossing the Mason-Dixon line, stealing a glance at my watch, my rendezvous with 2TallWV would be met. There is no mistaking my new hiking partner - aptly named - 2Tall is as lofty as his ideas, possessing a formidable combination of a good head and a good heart. A quick jaunt to Caledonia and a scramble up Charcoal Hearth Trail proving once again that a misstep in direction is sometimes the paradisaical destination. We ascended a nice loop, making camp over the ridge line, giving us a wind break on a breezy night as the temperatures hoovered just above freezing, testing and pushing our gear to the lower limits.
25APR2012 Miles 8.5 Temp. 44*F
Temps climbed as we descended, yielding way to a picturesque spring day. 2TallWV and I made our way to Quarry Gap to set-up camp for the night and lighting loads to hike back to await the arrival of MML, BobMac, SweetBabyD, Ben and my long lost brother TwoTents. Greeting old friends is such a warm welcome, old hiking friends, the warmest. At this conjecture, I must thank the nameless faces for their masterpiece, for Quarry Gap is no shelter, but a landscaped hiker haven, paralleled only be the joy shared by those which consume its beauty.
26APR2012 Miles 6.2 Temp. 42*F
The "Crew" hike began, with a short ramble ahead, we linger at Quarry Gap extracting the last few ounces of this Utopia. Making our way to Birch Run, our pairings mixing like leaves floating down a lazy stream as we catch up on each others days gone by. Joined by 2Q, SoundMan, SilvrSurfr and Enyapir, Birch Run was turned into a comedy club as the laughter and ribbing was unrelenting. Running into GroundHog here, we are delighted with his tales of his thru to date, he delighted as the " Tree People " migrated to our down warmed dwellings leaving the abode for him.
27APR2012 Miles 10.6 Temp. 36*F
Spring seemed to prevail today, as we strode over the ridges to a day of songbirds and clear skies. Stopping brook side for a mid-day meal BobMac was feeling the pain of eating "dated" food, disappearing for a moment TwoTents prompted me to put it into "super hiker mode", answering his call to duty, I triple timed to Toms Run to find him doing much better, a real trooper, BobMac pushed ahead, keeping a watchful eye on him, I was not only impressed by his perseverance, but his trail knowledge. Who needs blazes when MML is ahead of you, a practice of cryptology and hieroglyphics, brought a smile to each as we passed each scribbling.
28APR2012 Miles 0.0 Temp. 34*F
Hammocks gatherings share the common denominators of magnanimity, graciousness and philanthropy. The world should take note. Dutch, like a butterfly (could be that yellow jacket), made sure everyone was comfortable, his darting eyes, tirelessly seeking to lend a hand when and where needed. The "Man" musta' set-up a dozen hammocks and tarps. My time spent with him in conversation, treasured. Seamlessly run, even from those afar HappyCamper, the perfect emcee PeterPan, the cherished memoirs from Otter, Angel MerryMary, burgers galore from Traveler, the cornucopia of raffle items from attendees and venders .. THANK-YOU !!
29APR2012 Miles 0.0 Temp. Magical
Languishing as I pack, good-bye's an welcomed necessity. My ride back to Harpers Ferry was one of those rides where time vanished, effortless conversation, equable and tranquil, left me feeling like a babe in the woods, unjaded, and fresh. Hitting the local outfitter I encountered Gary "Badu" Hill, a featured thru-hiker on the National Geographic Documentary on the Appalachian Trail, where he offered up some trail magic inviting me to his home for dinner and shelter. We spent hours swapping trail anecdotes, his far more vast then mine, what an awesome Gentleman.
30APR2012 Miles 9.5 Temp. 54*F
My day began with a walk up the stone steps to Jefferson Rock, then to back into town to take in the local fare. I bounced around through the museums and indulging in the delightful eateries scattered throughout Harpers Ferry. I headed across the Potomac to hike the Maryland Heights Trail and pull off a stealth hang over looking the spiritualistic town I just explored. Comfort and convenience possess a magical power, my soul blossoming in nature.
01MAY2012 Miles ?? Temp. Didn't Matter
I awoke to the music of silvery liquid pattering on my tarp at 0430hrs. Downhill in the dark I head to meet the train back to D.C., reminding myself, rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. I am grateful. Spending the day in D.C., my only goal, to hit a few my favorite restaurants, in which I do. I retire at the International Hostel for the evening enjoying the flair and chatting with world travelers.
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