8, 1983 Friday (1173.6 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
Tony's I only had to travel about a mile before I marked off another
state in my fourteen state trek. Virginia and its five hundred
plus miles were behind me. I had gotten up early and did not
get a chance to see Tony before I left. At the very extreme southeast
corner of West Virginia, the trail entered and went by an area known
as Raven Rocks before running past an area known as "the Devils
Racecourse." After that it followed the border between West
Virginia and Virginia on the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains until
Loudon Heights overlooking Harpers Ferry.
at Key's Gap shelter, but did not take the one tenth of a mile side
trail to the store nearby since I would be arriving in Harpers Ferry
this afternoon. While at the shelter, we all got excited when we
read something in the register that talked about the KOA located
near Harpers Ferry. Supposedly every Saturday there was an old fashioned
ice cream social, and this particular KOA claimed to have a water
slide located in the park. With the heat the way it has been lately,
that was all it took to convince Tom and me that we should spend
the night at the KOA.
to descend off the ridge into Harpers Ferry along the past Appalachian
Trail, now a blue-blazed side trail called the Loudoun Heights Trail.
The Post office was my first stop. I received a package from my
mother and a letter from Dave Szabo. Next, I stopped at a local
restaurant for a refreshing rootbeer float before continuing on
to the Appalachian Trail Conference headquarters in downtown Harpers
Ferry. There I met Jean
Cashin, who takes care of all things at the headquarters. I
had corresponded with her as I planned my trip and purchased materials
such as guides and maps, etc. but had not actually met her until
today. I bought a new version of the Philosopher's Guide for 1983,
five postcards, and an updated version of the NY/NJ guidebook and
maps. While we were there, Tom
and I had our pictures taken with the polaroid camera that was
used to record all the thru-hikers that stop in at the ATC during
their hike. That same afternoon, I met Greg
Gilbert, another thru-hiker on his way north. Tom and I talked
Jean into giving us a ride to the KOA where we paid for the nights
stay at the entrance to the park, but after checking out the tentsites
and discovering they were all located on a hillside, and finding
not a level spot in the place, we became irritated. When we found
out that they really did not have an ice cream social or a water
slide, we really got ticked-off. We went back to the entrance and
demanded a refund. KOA's are not designed for AT hikers.
I caught a ride to the Sandy Hook Bridge over the Potomac River,
and was dropped off such that I could walk across the bridge into
Maryland. I had entered West Virginia today and now was leaving
on the same day. Five states down - nine more to go. I talked with
a fisherman who was fishing from the bridge high above the river.
He was fishing for Channel Catfish. I imagined that it must be tough
getting the fish out of the water and reeling it all the way up
to the bridge platform. Probably exciting just to watch.
the far end of the bridge and up the road a piece, sat Cindy Dee's
Restaurant. I stopped there for a meal and was disappointed to find
that due to a fire in May, their cooking was all done with the microwave.
Since I was already there, I ordered one of their microwave items
and found it to be good anyway. Since I had not intended to go any
farther today than I already had, I only continued the short distance
necessary to reach the American Youth Hostel located near the trail
just past the bridge, and paid the $5.25 required to spend the night.
From what I recall, the church run hostels beat the AYH by a mile
as far as cleanliness and feeling of hospitality. I think maybe
this was because this place was just getting started and was still
left West Virginia, I called my mom and informed her I had entered
Maryland, the sixth state. I told her about my longest mileage day
that took place the day she and dad dropped me off so early in the
morning on July 4th after their brief visit. I traveled an awesome
30 miles in one day! I must have been experiencing mosquitoe problems
during the last few weeks as she asked me if I had gotten any repellant
yet. I had not, so I told her I was looking for Cutter's Musk Oil
repellant with a picture of a Pirate on the bottle. (notes
from mom). I told her that I got the package she had sent on
July 1. I left instructions for the next package that she would
send out the following day to the town of Duncannon, Pennsylvania.
She would enclose a roll of Agfa slide film in this package along
with other items.
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983