Harpers on National Trails Day!
We woke up at Blackburn this morning and were ready for an easy hike in to Harpers Ferry, but first we had to climb the longest 0.2 miles straight up and out! It rained last night, so the trail was a little slick but not too rough. From here, we had an easy 4 miles in to the David Lesser shelter. I walked alone for the first time in nearly 600 miles to let Nokey catch up with James and Joe. I saw a ton of chicken of the woods growing on a log just past the shelter and Joe picked some to cook for us all later. When we got to Keys Gap James met his wife and headed home, leaving us with a short walk with Joe in to Harpers! We walked through some rocks and down a steep and wet hill to the Shenandoah River. You could look straight up the hill and see the town in the cliffs and it was a really emotional moment for me, knowing I was about to be at the psychological halfway point. I also met my first southbounder (SOBO), KitKat! When we came down to end of the bridge, we were looking straight up the mountain with a ton of stairs. Nokey and I ran up the stairs and directly to the blue-blazed trail leading us to the ATC headquarters! Nokey’s aunt Fran was there as we practically ran down the street. We ran into Feathers and Wild Turky, who were getting ready to head out for a few days with Wild Turky’s dad. We left our packs on the porch of and went inside to check out the hikers lounge and get our photos taken. Hawk and Blues Clues were inside and we said hello to them and talked to the staff for a bit. We got our photos taken and headed off to Leesburg for a few days off. We were definitely ready for a break after talking about this day for several weeks and pushing so hard to get here! The photo is of Nokey and me, our official hiker numbers at the ATC are listed in red – I’m the 329th NOBO through this year!