Summary: Crampton Gap Shelter: 1034.1 Pine Knob Shelter: 1046.6 Total miles: 12.5 We all slept great even despite the summer kid campers nearby who were super psyched to be alive and weren't afraid to yell about at 6:30 onwards. The counselors seemed to be at their wits end and there was a sliver of surrender in their voices. They headed south and we headed north with our wonderful area tour guide, Grant. He was thrilled to be hiking a section of the trail he knew really well that he always hoped he would return to as a thru hiker. And indeed, here we all were. We made it without any significant breaks until the original Washington monument, a stout fifteen foot high rock tower on a hill that oversees Virginia, West virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We ate lunch there just below the towers west facing side on a bench.
After walking a few more miles, picking numerous blackberries on the way, we headed down the Bartman Hill Trail to Greenbriar State Park, a popular spot for families to hang out by the lake. We had only gone eleven miles on the day, but even thru hikers need some sort of summer. We decided, after arriving around 4, that we would just spend the rest of the afternoon. Who can say no to a lake day? Tyler and Grant went swimming. We visited the concession stand for fries, chicken, hot dogs, italian ice, and dipping dots. And sort of nachos which Tyler spilled half of on the floor. We sunned in front of the lake and tried a bit to even out some of our weird, stark farmers tan. It was a great afternoon and, when sunset finally came, we trudged back up the steep .6 mile side trail and a mere 1.1 miles farther down the trail to Pine Knob Shelter where we set up our tents on a single tent pad site (after slowly scouting out the entire area). We would have some miles to make up in the coming days (we have to be at the post office at mile 1121 by noon this coming Saturday), but we are confident our relaxing afternoon was well worth it.