Pennsylvania

ROCKS, PAPER, SCISSORS, ROCKS

Things are moving fast and furious at this point and I'm doing all I can to keep up remembering all the places, dates and times. Around mid-June my dad came out to walk with me for two weeks! I was able to take a little side trip to Washington, D.C. because I was a few days early meeting him there. Sara was so gracious in letting me crash at her place and I had a blast touring the city and going to a Nationals game! It's a very strange feeling to be around so many people again and thrown back into society. It really makes me wonder what will be in store for me after this trip ends. Still a long way to go though and many more miles to cover. My dad and I were able to get through West Virginia, Maryland and most of Pennsylvania together which was a huge morale booster. Pennsylvania was a very difficult state and is notorious for mentally wearing down AT thru-hikers because of all the rocks. It's especially draining to walk over miles and miles of rocks all day in constant fear of twisting an ankle or falling and at this point a broken leg would mean the end of the road for one of us. I was very lucky to have my dad there for most of it. On his first day out we put in 18 miles and he followed that up with a 19 and 20 later in the trip. A lot of high mileage days kept me on track and we only took one side trip to Urgent Care! (the PA rocks one round against my dad but he won the war)

I'd been looking forward to my sister and dad coming out to meet me it's a little surreal that they have both come and gone. All that's left is eyes straight ahead to Katahdin now (and the White's of course)! The states and going to start coming fast and furious, spending only a few days in each.

Until next time,

Outro

SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK

Miles 861 to 1023

June 6th - June 16th

From Rockfish Gap Elyse and I started our adventure together through SNP. I was thrilled to be able to share this experience with someone from home first hand. We were off and running immediately after she arrived and headed to the first campsite. One of the coolest parts for me to see how far I've come. While helping set up camp and cook dinner if was fun to share everything I'd learned over the past two months. Over the next days we had an amazing time stopping at waysides (SNP is known for these) to eat and hiking through the park. I'm so grateful to have shared this trip with her!

Once again on my own I continued north. I always find it amazing how the trial shuffles and reorganizes people. Sometimes you could be 5 miles behind someone for months and never meet them, other times you leapfrog with hikers giving the trail a familiarity of a small town. One of these instances is when Elyse and I met fellow hikers Ken and Karen our first night at Calf Mountain Hut (In SNP they call them huts not shelters). I continued to see them on and off for the next week and a half and was always grateful when I did, familiar faces among so much unknown is remarkably comforting for the soul. On our last night in the park they offered to put me up at Terrapin Station Hostel, an amazing end to SNP.

The next week was spent making up miles through Virginia, which has more miles of the trial than any other state (around 550). I was lucky enough to meet back up with two of my favorite thru-hikers, Airlock and Yoda, and spent many days hiking with them. One notable stop we made was for the night at Bear's Den Hostel. It's an old stone building nestled in the 'roller coaster' section of the AT and the perfect hiatus to the elevation madness of this section. Probably the biggest highlight of this section was crossing into West Virginia and making it to Harpers Ferry. This is the location of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters and is where they document all thru-hikers in their journey to Main. I was number 634 to walk through since the start of the 2015 season. Catch you all down the trail!

-Outro