Wow! What a whirlwind experience to join “Dust Buster” and “AT AT Walker” on this quick turn. Very educational and respect for Lauren has grown leaps and bounds over this. Kyle is a great guy and we are so glad he and Lauren seem to be hiking at the same speed.
Let’s talk about speed for a moment. Lauren checked into Spring and received the number 1378 on March 30. Kyle checked in on the same day receiving the number 1381. When checking in with the Appalachian Trail Conservatory in Harper’s Ferry, Lauren is now 470 and Kyle 471! This means they have hiked past 908 and 910 hikers respectively!
Today, after a huge, hot breakfast, SG joined Lauren and Kyle for a 3.2 mile hike. It was suppose to be 2.7 but because I ended up in the wrong parking lot a half mile longer. SG desperately wants a trail name so I told her that we’d call her “Three Miler” right now. =) In this section they traveled from WV to VA to MD. Very exciting for SG to travel through 3 states and for Lauren and Kyle to move beyond VA. With big tears, we sent off Lauren and Kyle on to their hike with the plan to meet them later around 5:30, 20 miles later. This gave Lauren and Kyle a chance to “slack pack”, carrying only what they needed for the day. Hopefully, this will help Lauren’s back/sores out.
SG and I checked out a few things in the area, enough to know we want to return to raft on the Shenandoah River, do some zip-lining, and spend more time in Harper’s Ferry going through the stores and buildings as the history is incredible. They dress historically in the shops. It’s also crazy to see Lewis and Clark mentioned here. They are huge in Montana history. After driving across the United States, we have a greater appreciation for their role in history.
We reached the AT Trail Head at I70 around 11:30. SG was so excited to “get on the trail” we headed out. We were hiking south to meet Lauren and Kyle. This time, my pace is much slower than there. I want to look and take pictures plus I’m not remotely in the shape that they are! I got several great pictures of different plants, flowers, and lots of great pictures of SG climbing. SG was very excited that I would stop and let her play in the forest. It’s such a natural playground for a kid.
We found homes of critters and watched some chipmunks play/forage. We checked out trees that had been uprooted and looked at how bugs and animals were using them as homes. Many downed trees offered SG many places to climb and play. We found stone walls. When SG’s feet started to hurt, 2 miles in, we turned around and took more time to look at different things we waited for Lauren and Kyle to reach us.
While waiting, we had a chance to meet Dick, a gentleman who’s home aligns with the trail. It cuts through to the overpass between his property and his neighbor’s. Dick has been there for years. He used to have a log where hikers could sign in with their trail names and tell a little bit of themselves. Dick no longer keeps this log due to ongoing damage to the case that it was kept in. However, he has years of signatures/history. I suggested he publish this or share it with the Conservatory because of the history in those pages. They are trail angels, leaving fresh produce out from their garden for hikers. I asked Dick about the stone walls we found. He explained how the whole area was farm land and those were the walls that acted as fences. Those walls have been there for years and years.
Soon, Lauren reached us and Kyle shortly after. We hiked the remaining .3 back to the parking lot. One of the cool things was crossing the overpass of I70. Lauren and Kyle repacked their bags and got ready to set off. Tears and hugs followed. We hope Lauren’s new pack will resolve her getting sores. We look forward to catching up with them on the trail after SG gets done with school. We are so blessed to have the chance to meet up with them, spend time, and support their journey.
Until next time #embracethejourney