The great convergence of massive rivers in the valley below us was awesome. It was easy to understand the strategic importance of this location during the Civil War when gazing at Harpers Ferry from above. Mark and I walked to the Appalachian Trail Conference headquarters, passing impressive and well preserved historic architecture. Up the hill and through the streets of Harpers Ferry to the ATC where thru-hikers were starting to gather.
There was a major party at the Conference that 25th day of June. We met with a whole lot of people… Shred, Turtle, Running Bare, Poughkepsie Pair, Yogi Bear, Russ, Marc n’ Debbie, Featherback, Featherette, Skeeter, Dead Buffalo, St Thomas, Ms Adventure, Red Devil, Trainer, the Traveler, Wingfoot, and a plethora of suits and cameras. After the speeches and handshaking, we scoped the Conference and sought our accommodations for the night.
We finished our partying at the ATC, headed over to the local KAO Campground that evening and made our preparations to hike out in the morning. Featherback made a gear run that day and I purchased a new Ridgerest sleeping pad to replace my luxurious Thermarest pad, shaving nearly three pounds off my pack weight. Since Georgia, my backpack has gotten much lighter as I continually found myself sending things back home. One thing the Appalachian Trail has taught me is how to streamline my pack.
More beer, more Trail parties, more money spent and we then left Harpers Ferry on the infamous C&O Canal Towpath. We made good time as the few miles the AT shares with the towpath is completely flat. The 184.5 mile long Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was built between 1828 and 1850. It operated sporadically between floods until 1924 and now it is a scenic trail for hikers, bicycles and horses. The rain continued, a dismal and drizzly day as we made our way off the C&O Canal towpath and out of town.
Welcome to Maryland, our sixth state of the Trail. We climbed Weverton Cliffs and took in the hazy yet still magnificent view. Mark and I watched from the cliff as Yogi waited for an incredibly long freight train to pass through the valley far below us. We hoisted our packs and walked on to Rocky Run Shelter, our home that evening.
…continue the expedition, read: Half Way in Pennsylvania [link]