Ok so here we are in PA, state number 7! But I guess we have sort of been flying through states recently, so here is how it all went down...
Before anything, when we got into Waynesboro with Teri, we were super surprised when we went to pick up our packages at the outfitter: Pete from Florida, one of our blog followers, sent us some mail magic!!! We had a package from someone we have never met, filled with delicious candy bars and Kashi bars (YUMMM). Thank you so much Peter!!!! I don't have much to say about the following week in Shenandoah besides two things Jetpack didn't mention...
1. We got killer trail magic with Papa Muskrat (a section hiker) and his wife Mama Mink. They made us an incredible dinner, let us stay on their campsite, and then made us breakfast in their RV in the morning. We got to share this with our new friends Puddle Duck and Coyote.
2. Also, Shenandoah has a lot of wildlife...here I got one of my favorite pictures so far: (make sure to check out the little cub against the tree!)
After we left Shenandoah we stayed at the Bears Den Hostel, a gorgeous stone house with a great hiker special where your stay includes a full Tombstone pizza and a pint of Ben&Jerry's!!! A great night of course! We met some really great people there including Swift, Mothership, and Lost and Found, all of whom we have been hiking with off and on since then. We then made our way to a campsite right outside of Harper's Ferry where we were given a whole bunch of Starbucks Via instant coffee packets by some section hikers (a total win!! I LOVE these!), but not before stopping a pizza joint for a celebratory beer and dinner after crossing the 1,000 mile mark that day! I guess I got overly excited (and hungry) because I ate so much that when we made it to the campsite, I had to make myself throw up. Sorry for the imagery but it was actually pretty funny. Eats beat at his own game! The next day though, brought us in to Harper's Ferry WV, the 'unofficial halfway point' of the AT, home of the ATC headquarters, and....OUT OF VIRGINIA! We took the all-important 'half-way' picture on the porch of the ATC HQ and placed it in the 2011 binder to join the ranks of all thru hikers, past, present, and future who have made it to that point. We were lucky enough to get there while our dear friends Vinca and Poncho Verde were still there and will forever in history be next to them in the book!
The town of Harper's Ferry is a really great, historical town with plenty of awesome places to eat as well as an outfitter where I was able to replace my clunky boots with some awesome trail runners (I am so much happier, and faster, now!) Immediately after crossing the bridge out of HF, we crossed the border into Maryland!! (WV is only 8 miles on the AT). We got through Maryland pretty quickly, but not without back-to-back 97 degree days with intensely high humidity. NOT FUN. I did however, manage to hitch into town for a Chinese buffet with a few other hikers while Jetpack took a nap in the shade at Pen Mar park. After I returned we once again crossed state lines, heading into PA!!!
The next day (another 97 degrees) we got some more awesome reader participation! Tracy, part of a long-running family friendship, picked us up to take us somewhere to eat, to resupply at WalMart, and then back to her house. We had SUCH a great afternoon hanging out in their beautiful (air conditioned) home. Here we got to do laundry, eat ice cream cones, eat an incredibly amazing salad, and hang out with the whole family. It was such a nice time to get to spend with them and we wished we had been able to stay, but we had a big day the next day!!! Thanks again Lombardozzi family!!!!
So this big day...the HALFWAY POINT!!! We finally made it to the real halfway point, mile 1090.5
We then ran into another rattlesnake, Jetpack's first and my third...it's getting old now! Haha actually they are really cool now to see, but still a tiny bit scary. We then rolled in to Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the home of the infamous half-gallon challenge. We both succeeded in eating entire half-gallons of ice cream....not pretty. We didn't get sick, but it is nothing I will ever do again. As our dear friend Swift put it, "I have insulted my body".
Since then, the hiking in PA has been pretty easy for the most part, with lots of ridgeline walking. I am definitely really getting hit with the 'green tunnel' feeling. There has been such a long stretch where the views are far apart and are rarely breathtaking, something I am not used to at all having grown up hiking in the Whites. The AT gods however, were determined to make sure that this trip doesn't ever get boring. Stay tuned for the off-trail adventures that have really made this a one-of-a-kind journey for us. Should be up sometime tomorrow. Until then...