Powder River’s Appalachian Trail Journey from Georgia to Maine 2008

Archive for West Virginia

Hamburger In A Sock

Day 91
Location: Harper’s Ferry, WV
Miles hiked today: 19.9
Miles from Springer: 1009.1
Miles to Katahdin: 1164.9
Elevation: 270′

I took an extra day off the trail than I had planned, and had the wonderful opportunity to fix Mogo’s car with the extra time. Her car needed new sparkplugs, so last night found me with grease up to my elbows and a headlamp on, under the hood during a driving rain storm. Oh what fun it is to be back in normal life!

My friend Josh from Baltimore came out to join me on my hike today, which is from Route 7 (Snickers Gap) to Harper’s Ferry. This is out of sequence, leaving behind a 13 mile section between Ashby Gap and Snickers Gap that I will have to finish later.

Josh was in for quite a hike, as this section is 20 miles long. The first three miles are the end of the “roller coaster,” which is an up and down section that while they are only short climbs, can tire you out over time. The rest of the hike is a relatively easy ridgewalk, which I would say is good for someone like Josh who has not hiked here from Georgia.

Since we had vehicles, I met Josh in Harper’s Ferry, left his truck there and then drove back to the trailhead. Josh had only a daypack which contained a lunch and some water, so we really had no other options than to make it all the way to Harper’s Ferry. He held up pretty well, I have to say.

We stopped at Blackburn Trail Center for lunch, which is a wonderful place on the AT for hikers to spend time. You can hang out in the enclosed porch, there is water to drink and a bunkhouse to sleep in. If you stay until evening, usually the caretakers will cook a spaghetti dinner for hikers. Not having that kind of time, we pushed on.

As we got closer to Harper’s Ferry, we came down from Loudon Heights, which was one of the strongholds guarding Harper’s Ferry during the Civil War. Harper’s Ferry’s status as a railroad crossroads, garrison location and gateway to Maryland/Northern Virginia made it a popular target for both sides during the Civil War. The redoubts are still visible along the Appalachian Trail as we came in off the heights, which are among the more impressive I’ve seen, since they have not suffered from a lot of use or erosion by excessive amounts of tourists. Furthermore, they are not a part of a National Park, so there is really no restriction to exploring them.

Josh had made it 20 miles on the Appalachian Trail in one day, no small feat for a dayhiker. That’s 1% of the entire trail, as he pointed out. He suffered throughout the day from a sore on his foot, leading him to famously comment that his foot feels like a “hamburger in a sock.” This is a phrase destined to go down in the lexicon of Appalachian thru-hikers, as I plan to tell it to all of my friends. One day it will catch on, and you will hear the phrase on the streets and shopping malls and even in the subway. Thank you Josh!

We grabbed some dinner after the hike, and Josh dropped me back at Harper’s Ferry. I checked in to a brand new hostel there called Town’s Inn, which is extremely nice and the people are really cool. They let me have a room to myself for the price of a bunk, as the bunk room was full. It is really nice to be here in Harper’s Ferry finally!