Appalachian Trail Across MD, '07
Appalachian Trail Across MD, '07
(Click on photo for larger version, or select "medium" or "large"
links below each image).
Day 4: Rocky Run Shelter to Ed Garvey Shelter
The nights were starting to get a little less cold (probably
low 40s), and we awoke to a misty, foggy morning. Having
learned a few lessons by now, we started stirring roughly around
sunrise, and I went to fill up our water bottles from the spring,
carrying every water container "full up", which would make for
heavier packs, but I had developed some skepticism about getting
water along the trail, and wanted to ensure we'd have enough to
finish out the trip, even if we never found any more.
Our goal was to do 9 miles to reach the Garvey shelter,
which would put us only 6 miles from the finish line for our
last day. We hit the road, substituting Clif bars for
preparing any kind of real breakfast.
Leaving Rocky Run, we headed uphill, for about a 1000' climb. As we
went, we climbed through the fog and eventually got above it near
the top of the hill, and were looking down on it, then descended
back into the fog as we headed back downhill.
One of the more unusual points of interest along this trip was
Gathland State Park, and the "War Correspondents Memorial Arch".
Unlike the previous state parks, where the restrooms were closed,
Gathland did have an actual water faucet outside, with actual
water. Unfortunately I didn't try it out until I had taken
two Dasani bottles out of the vending machine. Since garbage
cans are rarer on the trail than water sources, this meant we
now had to pack out two empty plastic bottles for the rest of
I was still having trouble with my feet and boots, but figured out
that I was making things worse for myself by tying my boot laces
too tight, and tried out different ways of tying them (tying hiking
boots is, somewhat surprisingly, not a wholly simple affair). This
made things a little better, but I was really in a world of pain
at this point, and sadly limping along.
By now, my GPS batteries had died, so we only had old school methods
to figure our location, and by the end of the day Angelique was getting
fidgety about finding the next shelter. But soon enough, we saw a sign
for the side-trail leading to the Ed Garvey shelter.
Ed Garvey is the Ritz Carlton of Appalachian Trail shelters. Most shelters
are small, simple structures, roughly like a tiny, one room, log cabin
with no windows and the front wall missing, just enough to keep off
the rain. This shelter, however, was a 2-story affair, and the upstairs
had closeable glass windows. We made a small fire in the pit
next to the shelter, and cooked a hot
meal on the picnic table in front, then "retired" to the loft, the
only night we slept "indoors" (sort of). To be peculiar, though, we still
setup our tent inside the shelter, which I don't think is the "intended"
configuration, but it helped block any cold drafts, and kept the bugs out.
|Campfire and not at all dorky head-mounted flashlight
Day 5: Ed Garvey Shelter to Harper's Ferry
It rained all night long, but this didn't impact us much,
as we were under a tent and a roof, and the rain tapered
off in the early morning.
We had only 6 miles to go to our finish line, so we weren't in much
of a hurry. We dragged out the stove and made a "hot" breakfast,
sort of a hot cereal kind of deal, then we packed up and headed out.
This is the view from Weverton Cliff, accessible via a short side
trail from the AT, and which overlooks the Potomac. Our first
view of the Potomac was a sign that we were "almost there".
After walking under Rt 340, we quickly hit the C&O Canal Towpath
that parallels the Potomac River. Almost there...
The Potomac divides Maryland from West Virginia, so we declared the
state line, and thus our finish point, to be exactly this particular
spot in the middle of the bridge over the Potomac. Just to be sure,
we continued across the bridge into Harper's Ferry in West Virginia,
and since the half mile back to the car is clearly too far to walk,
we hopped the bus back to the Visitor Center.
Harry Mantakos /