May 26. Woke up in my tent on the tent pad at the shelter. It was going to be an interesting ride for the day. We took off early and hit the first hill of the “Roller Coaster” and it was going to be tough… At one point I was coming down the trail and must have spooked a squirrel and he jumped from a tree to a dead branch and it snapped. There was a lot of noise and then he hit the ground. I felt bad but he sat up, looked at me, and then ran off…at least he was ok! We took a break for lunch by a stream and I took my shoes off, the roller coaster was killing my feet! We continued on and crossed out of the coaster, 13 miles of hiking, at 2 in the afternoon. The hills really slowed us down! We must have passed 80 or more people today between full troops of boy scouts, groups of weekend hikers (it was a holiday weekend), and day hikers. It is always a nice change to have a busy trail and people to talk with rather than being alone on the trail. In the afternoon we crossed the Virginia/West Virginia border, another state down! More importantly, we crossed mile 1,000 on the trail! 1,000 miles done, one pair of shoes, under 3 months! It was a fun afternoon! We hiked on and took a break at the last shelter before Harper’s Ferry. It was a very nice shelter but the water was .25 miles down a side trail and we wanted to get closer to town for the next day. The good news was there was a restaurant and convenience store only .3 miles off the trail at a road 3 miles north. I skipped the water trail and high tailed it to the road, called to make sure the stores were open, then Biscuits and I headed down to split a large pizza to celebrate 1,000 miles. After pizza we picked up a 6 pack of beer and headed back to the trail and hiked in about a mile and found a flat place to camp. We set up the tents and split up the beer. It was a hot muggy night and the bugs were biting so we climbed into Biscuits’ one man tent…2 hot and sweaty guys crammed into a stuffy mesh tent, drinking beer. I was pouring sweat. We finished our celebratory beers, hung the food bags, and climbed into our own tents just before the rain started to sprinkle. I had to zip my rain fly closed and fell asleep in a really hot and stuffy tent…but it was a good day, good miles, and good times!
May 27. We woke up and broke camp and headed into Harpers Ferry. Only a few miles and mostly downhill to the AT Conservancy headquarters. We crossed a bridge over the Potomac River to get to town. It was an amazing morning, beautiful weather, and I really enjoyed being out and heading to town! Walking across the bridge was one of the best moments on the trail for me…one of those times when I really feel alive and happy to be on the trail! I hiked up the hill and made it to the ATC and had my picture taken and added to the AT Class of 2012 photo book. My hiker number at the ATC is 240…that means there are 239 thru-hikers ahead of me on the trail this year. When we left Georgia we signed in and I was number 210 to sign in at the start of the trail. I pulled out the Class of 2009 and found my buddy SpAcE from Carpinteria! I relaxed in the hiker lounge, had coffee, and talked with interested tourists and told them what it is like to live full time on the trail. It was nice to take a break, but Amy is coming to visit me in just under 2 weeks and I’m hoping to cover as many miles as possible before she arrives…time to get back on the trail!