Friday, June 1, 2012

Farewell Dixie

     I left Harpers Ferry late in the morning on a beautiful day.  The sun was shining and it was neither too hot nor too cold.  The trail went over the Potomac River, into Maryland and along railroad tracks for several miles.  It was flat and a nice pleasant stroll.  Eventually though it made a turn and started heading uphill, that is when I saw "No Trace", "Unbreakable", "Rainbow" and a girl named "Nutter Butter", sitting along side the road.  I stopped to talk and they said that "Nutter Butter's" foot started to hurt so bad that she was getting picked up to take time off and let it rest.  They were also thinking about getting some food delivered while they waited.  That sounded like a grand idea so I said I would chip in.  That is when a local came down off the trail and walked by us.  We questioned her about good places to eat in the area and who delivered.  She offered to take us to mcdonalds and bring us back, so away we went.

     An hour later I finally resumed hiking with a nasty processed hamburger rotting in my gut.  The trail was really amazing though, it passed by several historic landmarks from the civil war and times gone by.  There were spots where you could stop and read little signs about what took place in this area or what that building used to be.  It really got my mind thinking about all the neat history this area contains.

     I rolled into a shelter an hour or so before dark, sat down, started to get my food out when I realized something was strange.  I looked up and there was a cat sitting on the shelter platform looking as content as could be.  As I perused the shelter register there were all sorts of entries mentioning the cat, my favorite; Just watched the cat kill and eat a chipmunk, not something you see everyday.

     The next morning I headed off to Mount Vernon and saw the original Washington monument.  It was a giant stone structure with a spiral staircase inside.  From the top you could look around in every direction.

     Next it up it was a trip over one of America's superhighways.

     Then the rocks began.  Mile after mile of rock fields.  At first it was fun hoping from one to the other, then it became tedious.  After a few hours of it I became tired and started to trip.  Occasionally I would slam the bottom of my foot on some jagged stone or bash my poor little toes against a boulder.  By the time I pulled into the shelter I was staying at, I was spent.  The bottoms of my feet were sore and my toes slightly numb.  I took solace from the fact that the other hikers at the shelter felt the same way I did.  I set up my tent and massaged the bottoms of my feet for an hour before heading to bed.  Oh, by the way, my sausage toes are gone.  Just thought you'd wanna know.

     The next day I picked up right where I left off, in the middle of a sea of rocks.  I danced around every size rock you could imagine, all the way to the state border.  I guess I was wrong earlier, NOW I'm in the north.  Oops.

     After crossing the border the trail was amazing.  It was flat for miles with little babbling brooks and pretty wooden bridges going over them.  There were shelters every two or three miles and they were meticulously maintained.  I made it a point to stop at everyone of them and take a break.

     Of course all things must come to an end and the trail eventually headed upward again, with rocks.  In the afternoon I spotted this mysterious corpse in the middle of the trail.  If I had to guess, they are the bones of a hiker who twisted an ankle on a bunch of sharp rocks, thought help would arrive if they just stayed put, but instead was devoured by ants until their bones were picked clean.  That's my guess.  On a lighter note though, I finally got a picture of a butterfly.  I've been trying for awhile now to no avail, but this little fella was sitting directly in the middle of the trail and didn't fly away when I stuck my camera in it's face.  Maybe it was the one that picked the hiker's bones clean and was so stuffed it couldn't fly away.

     By late afternoon the clouds that had been threatening rain all day finally opened up, but I had just made it to the meet up point with my father for the night so we dashed back to his RV and remained dry.  Well, as dry as you can be when you are covered in sweat.




  1. George Washington ...a great horseman...I didn't know that!!
    We miss OUR great horseman but loving following your journey!!
    ~Tori and Ollie

  2. Horseman? Are you into Dessage or just simple riding? Noticed some horse clips on your youtube channel, why I was asking.

    Those bones looked like a mcrib sandwich some bear picked up at the McShelter.

    1. Hey Randy,

      I was trained in dressage and am a horse trainer in SD. I love it.