This last leg felt like a major section for us–we covered a lot of ground, hit some milestones, pushed ourselves and saw how strong we’ve gotten. It was hard, but I feel satisfied with it. It was good.
We left Waynesboro and excitedly entered the fabled Shenandoah. Everyone had been talking it up for weeks–oh, it’s so flat, it’s such easy hiking, no rocks, etc. I expected fairies to come and hand me a milkshake and carry my bag for me. But the trail let us know what was up immediately with some rocks and climbs. It was certainly nice to have the chance for a soda basically once a day, and the frequent road crossings made for some variety. But while Shenandoah wasn’t terribly hard hiking, it wasn’t terribly easy either. The AT seems to skip all the cool stuff too and just plunge through the park. All around us were side trails to summits and waterfalls, but we didn’t see many views ourselves.
But Eric’s mom came out to hike with us and arrived with sub sandwiches and a buffet of toppings, plus sodas. She also took us and Animal for a night in a lodge. And not long after she left, we took off for a two day break in Delaware–lots of food and sleeping, just what we needed (and always need).
We came roaring back from Delaware intent on catching up to Animal. We did five days of 19-20 miles in a row. That took us out of the park, through the remainder of Virginia, and into the deadly “Roller coaster”, where we met up with my brother. He hiked a rough 19 mile day with us and then into Harper’s Ferry the next day.
For a few days out of Harper’s my brother would join us in the evening, usually with Subway sandwiches, and hike a few miles in to camp with us. We took it slightly easier but still did big miles those days. We passed into Maryland, then crossed the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania. We caught up with Animal and Kat just before the halfway point and the Pine Grove Furnace half gallon challenge, which only Kat was brave enough to try (the challenge is to eat a half gallon if ice cream by yourself).
The next day we hiked into Boiling Springs, through both a rock maze and our first stretch of Pennsylvania farmland. A friend of Eric’s mom, Kristen, gave us a ride to the grocery store, so our town chores were easy this time and we’ve spent a great day relaxing.
And now we tackle the lowland Pennsylvania rocks in the blazing July heat! It’ll be a challenge, but if we can power through some cooler weather will be ours up north.