Another Sunday morning on the AT for Maggie and Henry. With a thirteen-miler behind us, little over eight miles on today’s trail sounded easy. Unlike last time there was no rain, but it was cloudy, meaning the sun wouldn’t beat down on us at all. Even after crossing the I-70 footbridge, we started on a trail that was paved and wide enough for Henry and me to walk side-by-side. “I think this’ll be the easiest hike yet,” I said to him.
An exceptionally steep incline had us huffing and puffing right away. Once we got over the hill, though, we were greeted with wide and easy paths. We passed several deer, one pair of which was a mama and nursing fawn. I took a six second video of the two, and the little deer’s tail was wagging back and forth like a dog just told he was going on a walk. Mom eventually kicked the baby in the face with her back leg to say “let’s get a move on,” and they ran off into the woods.
The worst part of AT hiking (to three-times hikers like Henry and myself) so far has been the spider webs. We love being early and nearly alone on the trail constantly – especially in Covid times – but that means that we are always running into spider webs. And I promise I won’t complain about them in every single post, I’m sure eventually worse things (snakes) will appear and make spiders seem friendly and harmless. But right now, their webs are the most annoying part of these mornings.
The trail was never going to be straight, wide, and manicured for long though. Soon, it began to narrow and more and more white rocks creeped up. It became more of a dance with careful foot placement — which rock is firmly in the ground and which is balanced on top of others. Soon, there was no dirt trail at all. You can kind of see that in two of the pictures below, the top right and the second row left pictures. After we spent some time looking over the vista, the rocks took my full attention and all my balance, which is why there aren’t any pictures of that section of the trail. The best way I can describe it is like jumping from rock to rock in order to cross a river, never quite sure if the rock you’re moving to next is going to hold.
The rocky trail probably occupied a mile to two miles of trail, and if Maryland is considered an easy section of the AT I really have to wonder about our ability to manage the rest of it. And to those people who aren’t in their early twenties and are thru-hiking or accomplishing a lot more of the trail than we are, I tip my cap to you. Thankfully, the rocks did abate, and we spilled back onto a dirt trail.
The one good thing about the rocks? Spiders were a lot more scarce. They too avoid that section of trail.
We opted to skip lunch this time because the trail felt so short. As soon as six miles hit, we looked at each other and agreed that only two miles to go didn’t warrant a long stop. We passed a campground with a bonfire going (is that legal?) and went about our business.
A steep decline down rocky steps eventually brought us back to the Wolfsville Road parking lot. Despite this trail in parts being the most beautiful and easiest to manage so far, it had a section that took a lot of focus and fancy footwork. Henry just let me know that our next section of trail is also going to be “a bit rocky.” Joy.
|Miles to Go||2157.1|