We are actually 30 miles into Virginia now, but I have yet to give my report on Maryland and West Virginia!
On Thursday afternoon, we entered Maryland. We had done 20 miles that day and were thinking about setting up camp for the night at a city park.
But then Fire Marshall convinced us to join him and his girlfriend Alex for dinner at Golden Corral … How we missed out on this American institution all this time, I have no idea! For a hungry hiker, it’s a perfect fit! Anyways, when we returned to the park for the night, Deal & I decided to hike 5 more miles for the day! This meant we did our first night hike! We ended up at this very awesome shelter, which Deal still wouldn’t sleep in because of the snake incident in PA.
So Friday, we woke up and hiked. Nothing too exciting to report for that day, actually. Maryland does have lots of history along the trail … Lots of Civil War battles were fought here, which is crazy to think that someone could have been shot where you are hiking. There was also this interesting monument to Washington … Apparently the first one built, then showed up by the one in DC!
The real excitement began on Saturday. First of all, Fire Marshall attempted to hike Maryland all in one day … And succeeded! He is really good at the AT challenges! His 41-mile hike took him about 15-16 hours!!! Geez Louise!
Now back to us. Weeks ago, we made plans to meet up with several friends in this area. We were going to do lower-mileage days to make sure we had some visiting time. This was all before Hurricane Irene planned her arrival. Trail maintainers were going around telling hikers to hunker down. We were very excited because we felt the planned visits with our friends were perfectly timed for hunkering down!
We woke up Saturday and thankfully, the hurricane hadn’t started. First thing on our agenda was not hiking, but meeting my other college roomie Kelly/Chile, her hubby & son for breakfast. Kelly even brought us extra treats to take with us. I’m not sure why, but everyone just wants to see us eat and shower …
So then Deal & I set off to do big miles before the hurricane. We did a whopping 7 miles!!! The next magic came from one of Deal’s buddies from the Prep, Tim. Tim picked us up and treated us to a night in a hotel!! There were a bunch of evacuees from the Chesapeake Bay staying there as well & they asked if we were evacuees and we said sort of. Anyways, we avoided the rains & winds for the night thanks to our trail angel!!!
We got to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, where they check in all AT hikers. We were #s 13 & 14 for SOBO thru hikers! When we left Maine, I think we were #40ish, so a lot of hikers dropped out and we passed a fair share.
Anyways, another one of Deal’s Prep friends, Pat/DrFlyer, his wife, Bri/theDancer, and their 15-month-old were there to meet us! Bri brought us black bottom cupcakes, which she was able to make right before they lost power from the storm. Thank goodness for that! They took us out for lunch, again with the attempt to fatten us up.
We then collected our packages and once again, received some major mail magic! 5 packages of awesome goodies! Oddly enough, the guy told us we were NOT the most popular thru hikers to come through because someone else had 6 packages!! Still, no need for us to resupply for awhile!! Thank you all so very much!!
Next up was a visit from our friends Chris/Mouth and Kayt/NHBound. Kayt also brought us home-baked goods that she made before losing power! We sat around at the ATC center talking with them for awhile, then all of the sudden, Chris said they had a surprise and more friends were coming … Our friends Sara/Caliente and hubby Mike/theFather walked in with their 7-week-old baby (with a personalized onesie in our honor)!!!! They drove 5 hours from Cleveland for the occasion!!! A crazy, wonderful surprise! So we spent the rest of the day with them and ate some more (of course). I am surprised they let us hold the new babe … our odor was pretty bad!
1 night in a tent
1 additional night in a tent for Deal, while Steadee opted for the new, beautiful shelter
1 night in a hotel
Deal dug 1 hole!
1 bee sting for Deal!
1 day/1 night
1 night in a hostel
Deal dug NO holes!!
1 silver AT marker
By the way, we no longer count NOBOs. We stopped counting in PA. I know this will sound snobby, but the NOBOs we’ve seen in PA and points south are most likely not making it to the end by Katahdin’s deadline of Oct 15, or sooner if the weather turns bad. So in our book, we count them as section hikers. Just call us AT snobs …
Guess what? We have less than 1,000 miles left!!!! Holy granola!!!
Although we have entered our 11th state, it’s the longest state (550ish miles). We like it so far and are happy to be among the mountains again, but you are bound to hear me complain at some point I’m sure.
Tomorrow we are taking a ZERO at Fire Marshall’s family’s house!!! Yeah!