Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Appalachian Trail

We have a relative hiking the Appalachian Trail. She's just starting out and is keeping a blog on Her trail name is Snoopy. If you want a funny read, have a look at her entries. Most of what she's written is about the preparation which is considerable. The account of her first day out is hilarious; she got lost and hiked 17 miles ending up back where she started. You have to admire her guts as she admits to being directionally challenged. Why didn't she take a compass?

The hike is about 2100 miles long. Here's a photo of one of the gorgeous vistas she'll be seeing if she
ever makes it out of Harper's Ferry. 

I can't leave it to chance that one my thousands of readers might not click on the link and have the pleasure of reading about Mary's hike start. So I've copied that entry and put it here so it won't be missed: 

So, I get dropped off at the airport in Orlando (MCO) by my best friend Lee, backpack and Snoopy with me and it's not too heavy at all because I shipped a lot of the heavy stuff ahead to the Hostel, especially the items that would not make it past TSA. Sitting outside a coffee shop with two hours to spare and reading an abandoned Sunday newspaper (I get that from my ex husband, an airline pilot)when someone taps me on the shoulder and asks, "Excuse me, do you know where the bathrooms are?" And here are my wonderful daughters, Grace and Josie, here to see me off. How lucky am I !! I had just got thru texting them to say goodbye and they gave me all the excuses of why they couldn't make it out to the airport(each one is an hour and half away in opposite directions) and here they are. JOY JOY JOY !! It was a grand start to my trip. Us Airways flight at just under two hours and cheaper than the Amtrak ticket at 23 hours.Fast forward to Reagan National Airport. Have been there several times. Got my Metro card yellow line to Ft. Totten to switch over to the red line for Union Station...and failed to pay attention. Jumped off two exits too early and had to wait another ten minutes for the next train. But that's okay because > I < got to see some young man with his drawers at his knees and he has a SKIDMARK and you could SEE IT !!! Texted the info over to Grace and Jos and challenged them to top that. Grace won. She replied back that her Jack Russell, Skeeter would EAT those shorts. I bow down to the master ~~~
So, got to Union Station and realized that I had been there before years ago on a 5th Grade DC trip with Josie and her classmates. Got Asiago rolls and a drink and I noticed several other backpacks in the convergence area, all belonging to guys. The one I talked to was Sam from England who admitted that he had quite the heavy pack of at least 45 pounds and I applauded myself for shipping heavy stuff ahead. So, my first experience on an Amtrak train and I have to say, it was a very smooth ride. Three times the leg room as opposed to an airplane and very quiet on board. If I had lots of time to spare, Amtrak is pretty good. From DC to Harper's Ferry, $11.
Got to the train station and headed over one street to the outfitter to buy rope as mine that I ordered failed to come in (Thank you Amazon). Met up with Sam and another guy, Bill, and we are hiking along the C & O Canal looking for this Hostel. Well, when you see the giant overhead highway, turn to your left; there is a gravel trail that takes you over the railroad to a street. Go right and over the second hill, the Hostel is on the right. Lovely, lovely place. I highly recommend it.
Got my bunk and found four new friends ! Melissa, Susan, Joanne and Betsy were finishing up a section hike and just took me under their wing. So we're in the bunk room and I've got my mailed box open to regroup all my stuff and I'm pulling out stuff after stuff after stuff ~~~ jeez I mailed a LOT of stuff. And I had this all weighed out at the house in Ocala but I'm looking at it and thinking, OMG. The girls were just wonderful. Wanted to know all about me, about all my stuff, about my hike. They had pizza delivered for dinner and offered to share but I was strangely not hungry at all. I did scarf down two diet Cokes, though. This could very well be MY hike ~~~ drinking more than eating.
Slept fine in the bunk with my Snoopy, forced down two pancakes and coffee this morning and hiked back into Harper's Ferry; the girls were ending their hike and going tubing today while I decided to go ahead and find the ATC to officially register. Hugs and photos later, I made my way up High Street (again) and yes, the ATC building looks just like it does in all the pictures. Got extra water, left behind heavy snacks and a paperback book and weighed the pack in the bathroom scale ~ 33 pounds. I swear to God, it feels like 55 when I try top swing it up on my back. So, mosey on out of town (again) cross the
C & O (again) and turn right and hike on, going a good five miles past the turn off from the hostel. Sitting on a rock resting and this guy on a bike (lots of bikes on the Canal) talks to me about the hike but then informs me that I'm heading south. OMG (OMG) I have just hiked me heart out, thinking I'm doing good to get to the Ed Garvey Shelter; and I have to turn around ??!? Yeah, he says, look at the river; it's flowing south. Sure enough, it was flowing the way I was hiking.

I am crushed. Turn around, hike back past the Hostel turnoff, climb the stairs again to go back into town (again) and I get a $3 soda. Worth every penny. ($3 because it cost $2.18 and I was NOT going to carry the change; it went in the tips jar). So I see Bill, the other guy staying at the Hostel and I ask him when he was leaving town. "Oh. I'm here for a few days." So I asked just how do I get out of town...puhleeeeeeeze. He says, arn't you hiking north? Yeppers. "Well, just go past the Hostel turnoff and keep hiking."   WWWAAAHHHHHHHT ??????? "Here, look at this map." And sure enough, he shows me that the AT comes UNDER Harper's Ferry and leaves over the C & O Canal.....and then to make my stupidity more profoundly complete, he reminds me that the lovely hostel we stayed in is located ~~~~ in Maryland. A state north of W Va.
Duh ~~~

As Snoopy would say,   Bleahhhhhhh >>>>>
Guess where I'm typing this journel? You betcha. Another night at the Hostel. And as I staggered up (after dumping all of my water except one bottle to save weight), I am retching, probably due to lack of electrolytes and a serious urge to kill myself. My legs, both of them, are cramping up badly that I could only hobble to the door; the cramp was causing my left foot to turn inward. Yes, there is room at the Inn and I am thankful to have the common sense to know when to regroup. I am here for another lovely evening

After a bottle of Gatorade, a shower, and washing my clothes (again), I emptied out my pack and removed the peanut butter, crackers and bags of cashews (darn heavy) because I can tell that my hiker appetite is actually diminishing and there is no need to carry the extra weight. I would rather have tons of water and a little food because I tend to drink more than I eat anyway.

So, today I hiked 2 miles into town, 2 miles to the turnoff to the Hostel, 5 miles North, 7 miles South back to Harper's Ferry and 2 miles back to the Hostel for a grand total of 16 miles ~ of NOTHING !!! Okay, I can count the two miles from town. And for the record, this is EXACTLY how my family expected me to hike as I have the directional sense of a gnat. I have been completely befuddled in Buenos Aires, London, Dublin, Jerusalem, every major city I have had the pleasure to visit.
Just sitting here in the chair, I can feel the pack on my back. I have GOT to get the weight down or I will not enjoy this hike. Period. So I fully expect tomorrow that I will wake up feeling like the Amtrak just blew me into the woods and when I go back, I will be turning left ~ North. And I will have ALL DAY to get to a shelter that is just 7 miles up the road and I will be hiking sooooo slow because I boogied it today all over the darn place and it got me nowhere.
And girls, my sweet Betsy, Joann, Melissa and Susan, I miss you, I miss you in the room ~~~ and I ate your left over pizza in the fridge. Even cold, it was deelish ~ with another diet Coke.   Cheers !



  1. Anonymous10:14 AM

    That was a hilarious hiking story. She should do a Bill Bryson type book except from a woman's perspective. It will be interesting to follow her funny journey.

  2. I'm sure enjoying her writing style. Yes, a Bill Bryson type book would be right up her alley.