We decided to stop in Front Royal for a nearo and zero instead of Harpers Ferry. Apparently, Harpers Ferry isn’t the best town to resupply in as getting around can be difficult, meaning not easily walkable. Our new friend, Fotoz, decided to push on past Front Royal so it’s just John and me again. Maybe we will see him again in Pennsylvania. Front Royal is definitely a cool town and very hiker friendly. There’s a brewery and bakery that have joined forces to create a hiker basecamp. Here you can do laundry and take a shower for free. The bakery is phenomenal and the brewery is just as awesome. We ate dinner at the brewery and someone anonymously paid for our dinner because we were thru hikers. The act of kindness brought tears to my eyes and again I’m reminded just how amazing the hiker community is.
Zero in Front Royal.
Our time off trail was awesome. Now back to business. Rain threatened all day but luckily it held off. We recently bought umbrellas and just picked them up in Front Royal. John was so excited to be able to use it but I am so happy we didn’t have to break them out. We hiked 22 miles today and my feet are super sore. We start the roller coaster tomorrow. I am less than thrilled. Fotoz said it was horrible so I know tomorrow will not be a fun one.
We woke up extra early in order to get on the coaster before it got unbearably hot. Literally every thru hiker besides one or two were slack-packing. I personally have nothing against slacking, but I choose not to do it unless my hike depended on it. Since the beginning of Virginia, we have seen more and more hikers slack-packing.
Hike your own hike, right? I guess….but if you’re slack packing more than hiking with a full pack, don’t think I won’t question your grit. Anyway, the ups and downs of the coaster weren’t that bad, but the rocks were. Rocks everywhere, waiting to dig into your soles and stab your toes. We finally made it to camp after a 23 mile day. 10 miles into Harpers Ferry tomorrow.
We finally made it to Harper’s Ferry as hiker number 861 and 862. I am so proud that we have made it this far! After checking in with the ATC, a couple that follows us on YouTube picked us up. They took us to the outfitter, lunch, ice cream and grocery store for resupply. They are actually going to meet us three times up the trail to resupply and do laundry. Again, people in this community amaze me. So kind and generous.
We left Harper’s Ferry and headed into Maryland. It was really cool to walk through so many historical landmarks and sites. The weather was perfect today. A little overcast, breezy and in the low 70s. We met with our trail angels again tonight and had an awesome time. They will be meeting us again tomorrow and they are bringing homemade lasagna and salad. I haven’t had a home cooked meal since my parents came to see us in Hot Springs. Super excited.
I strained a muscle in my leg and can barely hike at an acceptable pace. Every time I put pressure on my leg, I’m in pain. Hiking 18 miles today was not enjoyable. Kathy and Scott met us again this evening and we all decided I needed to take a day off trail to let my leg heal so I don’t hurt it even more. I’m really upset we have to do this but I know it’s for the best.
I rested and iced my leg and took ibuprofen to help with swelling. I strained the inner muscle right above the knee. We had to get back on trail so I did slackpack 18 miles today. We met Scott and Kathy for the last time this evening and they returned my pack. I completed the remaining two miles with my full pack. My leg still feels pretty bad but what else can I do but hike? I think John will carry some of my gear tomorrow. We entered Pennsylvania this morning so it’s pretty exciting to be in a new state, although we did love Maryland. Hopefully my leg heals before we hit more rocks.
Last night it stormed really bad and somehow water soaked the bottom of our tent floor. Our sleeping pads, liners and quilts were soaked. We’ve had several issues with our tent leaking on top from the seams and Zpacks did finally send us a new tent several hundred miles ago. We contacted them today about our latest issues and I’m hoping they will get back to us soon. We have been taking it easy the past couple days due to my leg. We did a 21 mile day then an 18 today. I can also blame our low mileage today on the ice cream challenge. We didn’t participate but it was a great opportunity to get some hot food and of course some ice cream.
Our biggest mileage day ever! We hiked 26 miles into Carlisle and met up with our friend Photos! It was a big day. We woke up at 4:30a with a goal in mind and didn’t quit. I’m so glad we pushed ourselves so hard, although my feet are really paying for it right now. My leg didn’t bother me too much today so I was excited about that. Tomorrow we are aiming for a 22 mile day and a stop in Duncannon for a quick resupply.
Pennsylvania rocks suck and we aren’t even in it bad yet. Perhaps my feet are still sore from our 26 mile day, but I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through this state. The rocks are relentless. We got a late start today so we fell 5 miles short of our goal. We had to resupply in Duncannon so we ended up finding a place here to stay for the night. A church allows hikers to sleep in the basement. They have a kitchen, bathroom and shower for us to use. It’s all a hiker needs and it’s free. It’s so nice for them to do this.
We got a late start and pushed up a big incline where we would cruise on a ridge for 14 miles. It was extremely hot and I think I must’ve gotten overheated. I need to remind myself to drink plenty of water especially now in the dead of summer. We were so close to a 20 mile day but stopped just short at 19.8. The rocks got progressively worse as the day went on. I’m not going to like this state very much.
We started very early this morning and the day dragged on and on. We wanted to meet one of our YouTube subscribers but that meant a 25 mile day. After a ton of rock scrambling and hopping, 2 thunderstorms and a fall, we made it to the finish line. We were able to get hot food, showers, laundry and a resupply completed. I still hate Pennsylvania though.
We got back to trail around 10a and planned for a 20+plus day, but as the day wore on, we realized 20 miles was unrealistic. We actually realized anything beyond 18 miles in northern Pennsylvania was unrealistic. We decided to scale back our miles to 15-18 miles until we are free of the rocks. I am so glad we decided on this because I was killing myself everyday trying to keep up with the guys.
We reached the town of Port Clinton where our trail angel, Steve, picked us up. I was amazed at all that we were able to accomplish in 4 hours including a trip to the post office in another town. I still can’t believe people devote so much time to help out hikers. Trail angels are the most generous and gracious people I have ever met. Anyway, we were able to pick up our new tent. Hopefully we won’t have any issues with this one because I am so over the leaking problems. The Zpacks tents are so expensive. They should be bomb proof!
I had another breakdown on trail today. Thankfully, my boyfriend is very understanding and let me cry in his arms. The rocks are killing me plus it started to pour. I can’t wait to get out of this state. We have one more full day of hiking, then Photos’ parents will pick us up. We plan on taking two zeros to recoup and forget about the rocks for a while.
We climbed over Knife’s Edge and several other dangerous rock fields. The day was very trying and draining. The only thing that got me through was knowing that we would be in a hotel room tonight. I was so excited to get off that mountain. We headed straight to the hotel, took showers and stuffed our faces with fast food.