THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN WEST VIRGINIA & MARYLAND

Thursday, June 30 1994 (Harper’s Ferry Camp Resort, WV) – Had a huge continental breakfast at the Super 8 motel this morning, then hiked down to the Front Royal post office to pick-up a mail drop including some money and tapes that I shipped ahead. Hitched out of town and away from the A.T. scoring my first ride with a young mother and her baby to the intersection of Route 340 and 55. My second hitch took me all the way to the ATC headquarters in Harper’s Ferry via a 24 year old guy that was headed to Philly for a wedding. Spent most of the day around the A.T. headquarters and bought a couple of big trail maps for framing. I also toured the downtown area which had a lot of interesting Civil War buildings and sites. Had dinner with three other thru-hikers (Slacker, Pilgrim, and Steely) at the local pizza shop, then hitched with Slacker from the Pizza Shop to the Harper’s Ferry Camp Resort where there were a bunch of thru-hikers camping for the night. Hit the pool, did some laundry and enjoyed their arcade. Then hung out with the other thru-hikers at their campsites which also included Suess, Otter, Shirt and a girl named Leigh Anne.

Sunny AM/PM Hot, Hazy, Humid Clear Night Upper 80’s Low 70’s

 

Friday, July 1, 1994 (KC Murphy’s House, Downtown Baltimore, Maryland) – I was up at 5:30am this morning to hike to the train station and catch the 7am commuter ride into D.C. Model T was on his way to slackpack, and I lucked into a ride just a few steps out of the campground. Made it to the train station by 6:30am then rode to D.C. then switched commuter lines and rode on up to the BWI airport. Hung out until 2pm until KC picked me up at the curb, then we went back to her place in Baltimore. Had a mellow afternoon until Alyssa and her husband Pat showed up, then we hit a Mexican place for dinner and hit some bars with KC’s law friends. Had a lot of fun in Baltimore tonight.

Partly Sunny AM/PM Hot, Hazy, Humid Clear Night 86 68

 

Saturday, July 2, 1994 (Comfort Inn, Pikesville, MD) – Went to breakfast with Pat/Alyssa and Tony/KC this morning,then caught a ride from KC to the airport. Met Mo by 2pm who flew in from Chicago to spend a week at the beach. She and I rented a car then drove to the Pikesville, MD Comfort Inn to hit the pool and stay for the night. Ate pizza for dinner at a nearby restaurant, then went to see the movie Speed at a nearby cinema. Had some ice cream after the show, then headed back to the room by 11pm

Partly Sunny AM/PM Hot, Hazy, Humid Drizzle AM/PM 91 66

 

Sunday, July 3 1994 (Dover Motel, Dover, DE)– Mo and I left the Pikesville motel by 11am this morning and stopped to grab some doughnuts for breakfast. Drove to KC’s apartment in Baltimore where we saw Alyssa again, and Grateful Fred and Susie who drove in today for the Orioles baseball game. Mo and I decided to skip the game for a tour of the harbor area which turned out to be a good choice. Heavy thunderstorms pounded the area this afternoon and it undoubtedly disrupted the Orioles game. The Baltimore harbor was pretty crowded for the Holiday, so we left town around 3pm and drove to the U.S. Naval Academy for a brief tour of the campus. Ate at Wendy’s for an early dinner then drove to Delaware to stay in a local motel. It turned out to be a pretty fun evening. Did some shopping at Walmart then had drinks at a nearby Sheraton until around midnight.

Cloudy AM/PM Drizzle AM Thunderstorms PM 87 72

 

Monday, July 4, 1994 (Cape Henlopen State Park) – Mo and I grabbed breakfast at Bob Evans this morning, then drove through historic Odessa just north of Dover, Delaware. By mid-afternoon, we were setting up camp at Cape Henlopen State Park in a surprisingly remote section of the park. Walked to the beach briefly, then drove to the grocery for some camp supplies including hot dogs and brews. At the park, Mo and I cooked up dinner then enjoyed the campfire as the temperatures cooled off this evening. The breezes from the beach had temperatures down into the 60’s for a change and it was cool enough for a jacket. It’s been a few weeks since that has happened.

Sunny AM/PM Hot, Hazy, Humid Clear Night Upper 80’s Low 70’s

 

Tuesday, July 5, 1994 (Comfort Inn, Ocean City, MD) – Packed up early this morning at Cape Henlopen State Park, then headed into Lewes for a restaurant meal in their harbor area. Over breakfast, Mo and I decided to spend the day at Ocean City, Maryland and drove in to town to rent two mountain bikes and tour the beach from 12:45pm to 2:45pm this afternoon. During the ride, we enjoyed the breeze from the ocean and stopped briefly for lunch at Burger King.

After some brief motel shopping, Mo and I found a Comfort Inn and used her corporate discount to stay near the water at $65/night. I pulled to the front of the hotel to unload our stuff, but inadvertently locked the keys in the car with the motor and AC running. This attracted plenty of attention and numerous Heros. So, I spent the next few hours working with a variety of strangers (including an off-duty cop) to open the door. It took a locksmith to get us into the vehicle, and the rental car took a beating in the process with the trim on the passenger door scraped and mangled. The numerous attempts to unlock the door with a coat hanger and jimmy had disabled the passenger door and it was rendered inoperable. That said my stress level was high by mid-afternoon when Mo and I finally retired to the room. It was ironic that this happened only a week after helping an Asian couple with the same problem in Shenandoah National Park. My habits with a stick-shift Protégé had me leave the car in drive, pull up the emergency brake, and get out to unload the trunk. Apparently this doesn’t work with U.S. made automatic transmissions. The auto-lock safety feature engaged and locked the doors as soon as I got out of the car – frustrating to say the least. Mo and I were able to salvage the night to some degree. We went to a fancy seafood restaurant, had some drinks, then eventually returned to the room by 11pm.

Sunny AM/PM Hot, Hazy, Humid Clear Night Upper 80’s/Low 90’s Low 70’s

 

Wednesday, July 6, 1994 (Maridel Motel, Ocean City, MD) – The Comfort Inn was booked solid tonight, so we had to move on to another place which sent us motel shopping after a quick breakfast at Denny’s. Found the Maridel Motel located near the Days Inn and checked in for the night. I dropped Mo off at the beach and went out to get some glue to fix the door trim (ravaged by our break in attempts yesterday). Met up with Mo at the beach for about 30 minutes until a storm appeared on the horizon. By 5pm it had completely missed us, so we walked up to a pizza place and hit the nearby arcade. The weather turned out to be really nice this evening, and after a round of putt-putt (which Mo won) we hit the beach for a walk after dark.

Partly Sunny AM/PM Thunderstorms PM Clear Night Upper 80’s 70’s

 

Thursday, July 7, 1994 (Harper’s Ferry Camp Resort, WV) – Mo/I left the motel by 9am this morning to give us plenty of time to drive to the Baltimore airport. It took about three hours to drive from Ocean City to BWI and we had very little traffic. We had about 90 minutes to kill before my free shuttle from BWI to the airport train station. Caught a 3:07pm train to D.C. then a 4:55pm train from D.C. to Harper’s Ferry and enjoyed the train ride. Mo flew out at 4pm this afternoon for Chicago, then had plans to change planes and head for Evansville, IN for the rest of the weekend.

Back in Harper’s Ferry, I walked through town to the Harper’s Ferry Camp Resort and returned to the place I stayed a week ago. Harry and his dog Jade were camping with Rob when I arrived so I pitched my tent with them for the night. Crashed out by 10pm in very humid weather with temps still over 80 degrees at 8pm.

Sunny AM Thunderstorms PM Hot, Hazy, Humid Cloudy Night92 68

 

Friday, July 8, 1994 (Harper’s Ferry Camp Resort, WV) – Packed up this morning and had some food on the way out of town with Rob (aka Animal). We had hung around the campground pool until 2pm waiting for the heat to die down, but it was still blistering hot at 4pm when I hit the post office to get mail and repackage my bounce box.

Stopped by the ATC Headquarters and some stores/shops on the way out of town. I heard from some other hikers that Black Sunshine and The Weight were coming in on a train tonight and decided to wait at a restaurant for them. The 6:15pm arrival did not have them on board, so I decided to hike along the river to the American Youth Hostel and enjoyed the evening walk despite the heat.

Arrived at the hostel by 8pm and met the parents of Amy Walsh who I had hiked with in N.C. and spent some time with in Hot Springs. Apparently she left Jango (her hiking partner that I also met in N.C.), and her parents were anxious to find her. So I rode with them back to Harpers Ferry and queried the throng of threw hikers that were rolling in to town this evening. Once in town, I decided to stay at the campground again tonight since the AYH was not that impressive. Ended up hitting a bar with Stickman and Jive Turkey until 1am and had a good time tonight.

Partly Sunny AM/PM Hot, Hazy, Humid P. Cloudy Night 97 70

 

Saturday, July 9, 1994 (Harper’s Ferry Camp Resort, WV) – Walked out of the campground at 8:30am this morning and caught breakfast on the way out of town. Ran in to Amy Walsh’s Dad again and he offered me a ride back to the American Youth Hostel to save me a repeat of the 2.3 miles I hiked yesterday. We stopped at the ATC Headquarters so that I could load up on water for the day, and I ran in to The Weight, Black Sunshine, and numerous other hikers who rolled in on the late train last night. They had camped along the river and were in discussions about jumping ahead to Vermont when I arrived with plans to get out of the heat. By the time the conversation ended, Sheryl (aka The Weight), Rob (aka Black Sunshine), Freebird, and Rob (aka Animal) had committed to renting a car and hitting the road tomorrow. I offered up some cassette tapes for the ride (which were later returned) and we added Port-A-Can Dan, Earplug, and Wicked Ale to the mix to head to the Anvil restaurant for some food and beer.

At lunch, Bob Williams – who works at the ATC Headquarters – offered us a ride up the river so we could get out of the heat and do some tubin’ on the Shenandoah. As a result, The Weight, Mike (aka Jive Turkey), and I spent the next 2 1/2 hours floating down the river then returned to the campground to cook up some hot dogs this evening. At the campground, we joined up with Ski, Freebird, Port-A-Can Dan, Earplug, and Laid Back Sue to hit the local bars until 1am and get in a few drinking games. Had an awesome time tonight and enjoyed yet another night in Harpers Ferry.

Partly Sunny AM Cloudy PM Thunderstorms PM Cloudy Night 92 70

 

Sunday, July 10, 1994 (Crampton Gap Shelter) – After our big night on the town last evening, it was a lazy morning around the campground today. Black Sunshine rolled in to our campsite with a rental car around 12 noon, and the Weight, Freebird, Animal, and I jumped in and made a quick stop at the ATC Headquarters on the way out of town. I was eager to get back on the trail (and to avoid the 2.3 miles that I already hiked from the campground to the American Youth Hostel). Fortunately, Black Sunshine and the Weight offered up a ride to the hostel before they left Harpers Ferry headed for Vermont. I had a lot of fun hiking with them in Virginia and hope to cross paths with them again soon.

Hiked about ten miles to Crampton Gap Shelter by 8:30pm. I had taken a break earlier at Gathland State Park to cook dinner under the pavilion. It’s a nice park and it is located only 0.4 miles from the shelter which I shared with Medicare Charlie, Riff-Raff, Machine Gun, and Laid Back Sue tonight. There were also some high school kids on a Civil War trip camping in the area tonight.

Partly Sunny AM Cloudy PM Scattered Clouds 86 68

 

Monday, July 11, 1994 (Pine Knob Shelter/Greenbrier State Park) – I left the Crampton Gap Shelter by 9am this morning and walked solo until I got lost on a side trail and ended up hiking the road back to the Appalachian Trail. Ran in to Laid Back Sue in the process and hiked with her to I-70 where I decided to hike to Greenbrier State Park to resupply. Sue decided to join me for the side trip and we arrived at the park at 5:09pm – just after the camp store closed for the night. Bummer – but I still had two days of food left which should get me in to Pennsylvania.

Walked back to the trail and noticed a marquee in front of the Dogpatch Inn with the hope of food inside. Checked Wingfoot’s Handbook and read that the place was a biker bar and to “use caution”. So left Sue at the door and found John, the proprietor, to be tough but a genuinely good dude. Despite the $5 in my pocket and his inability to take credit cards – John served us two small pizzas and 6-8 draft beers for $10 (or $5/each). As if that weren’t enough, he sent us off to the shelter with two bottled beers (on ice) and two Snicker’s bars. Four hours later when we left the Dogpatch at 9:30pm, it was pitch black and Sue/I were feeling no pain. Hiked the 0.8 miles from the Dogpath Inn to the shelter and enjoyed the walk over I-70 and the beautiful night sky. At the Pine Knob Shelter we cooked dinner on the picnic table and settled in for the night. Then as Sue was putting away her cookware – the shit hit the fan.

Initially, I thought a limb had fallen on the tin roof of the shelter – but an inspection of the roof and surrounding area proved otherwise. When the roof took a second, then third hit, Sue and I cut the candle light on the picnic table where we prepared our dinner. When the tin roof took the fourth hit – she tightly grasped my arm and demanded that we leave immediately. Since we heard voices and rustling in the woods, we decided to abandon our gear and hike out in the dark. Sue and I made our way to the road in about 30 minutes and down to the Greenbrier State Park within the hour.

A quick call to 911 sent the park ranger to our pay phone around 1:30am and he escorted us back to the shelter to get our stuff. It was intact and we took the ranger up on his offer to return to the park for the night. The ranger claimed there were high school kids partying in the area frequently and took all the license plate numbers of the cars parked at the trailhead. By 3am, we had pitched our tents and were out for the night – damn tired from the hiking and antics of the evening.

Sunny AM/PM Clear Night low 80’s low 70’s/upper 60’s

 

Tuesday, July 12, 1994 (Pen-Mar State Park) – Slept in at Greenbrier State Park until 10am this morning then bought a few groceries at the camp store and had a hot dog and some ice cream for lunch before hitting the trail. Hiked out of the park just before 1pm when the ranger that assisted us last night drove up and offered a ride to the trail. He didn’t flip the gate and drive us to the shelter like the previous night, but it was great to avoid the long climb from the park to the trailhead.

Took some photos with Sue at the now infamous Pine Knob Shelter, then hiked from 1-8:30pm on the A.T. It was cooler today but there were a lot of gnats for some reason. As we climbed to the ridge from the shelter, we passed a group of Boy Scouts perched above our site the previous evening. Were they throwing acorns or rocks at the tin roof of the shelter? I suppose we’ll never know. Sue and I laughed about it, then continued on to Annapolis Rock which was a nice area with a great overlook.

By sunset, we made it to High Rock which was another great vista. Snapped some pictures as the sun fell below the horizon and some local kids were pounding beers at the rock outcropping. After sunset, they offered up a ride to Pen-Mar which Sue and I decided to accept. Cooked a big dinner at the park and tried to sleep in the pavilion. The bugs were vicious tonight, so at 1am I pitched my tent for some refuge. Sue opted to tough it out and had bug bites covering her arm by morning.

Sunny AM/PM Clear Night 80’s 70’s

 

(I later made up the 2.2 miles that I missed from High Rocks to Pen-Mar State Park on a hike in April 1996. Follow this link to continue reading about the Pennsylvania section in 1994.)

 

MORE DETAILS

Speak Your Mind

*