The Maryland trip started from the home of Curt (who graciously provided parking) on Saturday, May 26th at 7am with eight members present.
We drove to the Teahorse Hostel in Harpers Ferry, where we would bunk for the night and have a waffle breakfast before our hostel host, Laurel, shuttled us to Pen Mar Park to start our adventure Sunday morning. Once there and gear unpacked, we hiked the quarter mile north to the Mason Dixon line which is a sign beside some railroad tracks on the AT. After taking a few pictures and hiking back to the starting point, we bid our host farewell and continued on with our mission, 40 plus miles of the AT through the state of Maryland.
The first couple of days were very grueling with the heat, humidity and terrain of the trail taking a toll on most of us those first miles. While we met a few through hikers, the first few days of our trip the traffic of north bounders became steadily more prevalent as we progressed south. Most of the through hikers had just come from trail days in the weeks before at Damascus and were just getting back on the trail. Along the trail, we came across many historic sites that we either stopped at for lunch and rest or passed by and took pictures of or all of the above.
The rock overlooks the great campsites, the monuments, the footbridges, and all the beautiful scenery along the way. Oh and not to forget the Flintstones like chairs and campsite just off the trail on that next to last day. At The Old Historic Inn near Dalghgren campsite, we got out of the rain for a few hours and had some adult beverages and desserts. And, for those of you who traveled the trail, we all know by now it is only a quarter of a mile to almost anywhere you want to go or need to get too (well, almost).
Once we arrived back in Harpers Ferry, Thursday, it was a rest day. We also got a chance to use the Hostel washer and dryer to remove some of the stench from our packs before loading them in the van. What a relief that we did not have to smell dirty clothes for that last 9-hour drive home. We also visited the AT Conservancy Headquarters were we looked at books of the through hikers (we found Heidi but didn’t remember when John Bredenkamp did it) in them. Some of us bought shirts, maps, buttons and other souvenirs from the trip and area of the AT.
The next day, Friday, a few hearty souls decided to hike the West Virginia part of the AT while we were there. Ken, Curt, Dennis and Joni left after breakfast for the trail south. When they returned a few hours later, some in the party went to Shepherdsville, WV, one of the oldest towns in the state, while others took the train to Washington DC for some sightseeing which ended in bad weather later in the day and a long train ride back. Curt and Dennis had made the DC trip the day before and knew which connections needed to be made starting out. If the other choice had not been the Battlefield of Antietam there might have been more on the train that day to DC.
We all met some very nice people on the trail and our hostel as well as our own group, and Harpers Ferry was a very interesting as well as an historic town to visit and see how things really all began there at the start of the Civil War and what a strategic site it served in two wars.
We left for home Saturday morning, June 2, after eating waffles at Teahorse, before heading back to Indiana. I think everyone enjoyed the trip but, in the end, “there’s no place like home.” See you on the trail next time.