Random Campsite: 1005.9
Harper's Ferry ATC: 1023.1
Total Miles: 17.2
Over the night it rained and finally cooled off. After sleeping directly on our sleep mats for two nights, we finally had to crawl back in our sleeping bags and liners. It was great.
We got ready for the day with an entourage of day hikers. Which usually means it is a weekend day. There were weekend backpackers heading south, day hikers walking or running quickly, and families with no gear and every group seemed to have minimum one dog. We were certainly close to a town on a weekend.
We hurried down the trail towards Harper's Ferry and to the West Virginia border. So much that we missed the first border crossing sign. We did, though, certainly not miss the roller coaster ending sign.
*The Rollercoaster's profile
Grant had hiked 33 miles the day before, for reasons we will never understand, and was only three miles behind us at this point. We were excited to see him, but also felt strangely challenged to stay ahead of him. Before Harper's Ferry there wasn't a lot of water so Tyler walked down the .27 mile and 213 foot down trail to the Blackburn Trail Center to grab water from the furious tap. Illegal, who we had seen earlier that morning, was also there for a break. Back up the trail Emily made lunch. After a spot of lunch, we were off.
We hiked on, getting more texts from Grant about him trying to catch up to us, apparently we were moving quite fast. After a short snack break, though, Chopper, Bagheera, Scout, and Savior passed us who were attempting to make incredible time towards the Appalachian Trail Center headquarters in Harper's Ferry where you get your picture taken which will be held for all eternity in the ATC book of lore. They are open 9-5 every day so we figured we would get ours on our zero day.
We kept going and finally hit the horrible rocks before Harper's Ferry we had heard so much about. Luckily they didn't last long, but they did slow us down.
After meeting a few weekend hikers and families wondering if their uphill would end, we met Joseph and Dara, who we talked to about the hike for a while and sweetly offered us a ride to our destination if we hadn't found one by the time their hike was over. Joseph had just quit his job to climb Kilimanjaro. What a brave dude.
At long, long last we officially crossed the Virginia/West Virginia border for the last time. We walked over the bridge over the Shenandoah River and waited for Grant who was only thirty minutes behind us at this point. He showed up after his 20/33/20 mile days and there was much rejoicing. After hugging, and a few minutes of catching up, we decided to hike the half mile more to the ATC and find a ride there. At the ACT we met Peregrine again, who had been there since Thursday on his fleet of foot, and we awaited an Uber ride. Our Uber driver, Mohamed, carried all of our disgusting bags to his trunk and drove us out to Charles Town where the Motel 6 was half the cost of any hotel in Harper's Ferry and there was a grocery store across the street.
We relaxed for a bit upon arrival and got Mexican food in the strip mall across the street which was delicious. On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the A&W which had closed the inside, but the drive through was open. Grant managed to talk one of the employees into getting us root beer floats from the drive through window despite the obvious fact that we had no car.
At the hotel, we relaxed with the floats. We had also run into Crayola earlier, who had an infected toe, and she chatted with us into the night, even though she had to head back to the trail at 5 am the next morning to finish the miles from Blackburn. We ended the night later than normal since we were in a place with electricity, though not before Tyler's birthday started at midnight.
WARNING: What you are about to see is highly disturbing and grossly gross. Please be advised.
*Tyler's blood blister