Day 10: Harper’s Ferry

Hike Days

I walked the 8 miles in to Harper’s Ferry with Snuggles, Darwin and Rube. They’ve been hiking together since nearly the beginning when they started hiking in Georgia, so it feels good to hike with some veterans of the trail. And it also hurts to hike with them, because they wake up at 5:30 a.m. (sometimes they get up at 4!) and because they walk fast. We got into Harper’s Ferry around 9:30 a.m. and went straight to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which is the headquarters for the AT. Every hiker who goes there gets their picture taken. They split the hikers up into a couple different categories, two of them being “thru-hikers,” those doing the whole trail either from Maine to Georgia or Georgia to Maine, and “section hikers,” those who intend to do the whole trail but are only doing it sections at a time. Snuggles, Darwin and Rube are all thru-hikers, and I’m a section hiker. I’m the 195th section hiker to cross through Harper’s Ferry this year.

They put all the photos in a big photo album, so I scanned through the last dozen or so photos to see if I could find anyone from Kansas. And to my surprise, there are two others! One from Erie and one from Olathe. And the one from Olathe seems to be just a day or two ahead of me.

We walked around Harper’s Ferry for a little bit and grabbed some warm food and ice cream. We also went to the hiking outfitter store where I got some new socks that are supposed to help prevent blisters.

The last six days of rain have wrecked my feet with blisters. Because my socks and shoes are constantly wet, there’s nothing I can do about my feet sliding around in my shoes. My knees are also hurting a lot from the steep descents. I’m taking lots of ibuprofen everyday, though, and that seems to help. I’ll probably also get a knee brace for some added support. Fortunately, I’m done hiking for the day, and I’m taking the whole day off of hiking tomorrow too. And then hopefully it stays dry for a while!

I’m staying at a really fantastic hostel tonight and tomorrow that has clean sheets, clean towels, shampoo and conditioner, a washer/dryer, and FREE FOOD!! They even have vegetarian options. All for about ~$20/night. Amazing!

I’m spending the evening trying to dry out my sleeping bag and shoes and then washing clothes. Pretty mundane life, but it’s a wonderfully simple thing to only have to worry about getting clean, keeping stuff dry, eating and hiking.

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