Monday, October 29, 2012

Harpers Ferry check-in day

Sunday, October 22, 2012:

Here's my official AT thru-hiker mug shot.

... and then ... they gave me TWO mug shots, because I will have completed two thru-hikes.  The first one is my SoBo shot, the other is NoBo.  (Normal yo-yo hikers pass through here on two separate days and get two mug shots also.  I'm just unique in that my two shots are taken the same day, one as I arrive from the north, the other as I depart, returning to the north - does that make sense?)

It was a glorious day, so I almost begrudged my time indoors visiting with staff, volunteers and other visitors.  Besides getting my mug shots taken, I had to check all the photos of other 2012 hikers.  Here's just one that I want to share - Corky and I hiked together for about an hour one day up in Massachusetts.  Here she is finishing at Katahdin -- in her Crocs! (as always).  And she's posing the way I wanted to pose but didn't have the guts to - or the balance.  Way to go, Corky!!  (She sent in this photo after completing her hike and they posted it on the bulletin board in the hiker room.)

I got a chance to meet with Laurie Potteiger for a free-ranging discussion on what kind of book I'd like to write to share my experience.  Options include a story of my personal adventure (perhaps a bit bland compared to some of the stories already written), a coffee table book featuring photos (ATC already has an excellent one), or a guide for day hikers - experienced and novice.  I like this last option best ... a chance to attract people to the trail, just to hike it once - one little piece - experience the magic of this famous trail, and maybe get inspired to do more, to join a local hiking club, to do some maintaining ... whatever.

Tentative title and subtitles are now:  "Come Walk this Famous Trail:  50 Best Day Hikes on the Appalachian Trail, Maine to Georgia"

Outside again, I hiked through town, with fall color resplendent, St. Peters church glowing in the morning sun.

Then I headed into Maryland, my long-time home state, and where I first fell in love with the AT.  I hiked up to the Ed Garvey Shelter and visited Weverton Cliffs, taking in the great view on this crystal clear fall day.

And I found the single most rustic trail marker yet, on a telephone pole - far-and-away the best anywhere on the trail:

Weather for the coming week looks spectacular, if not too warm.  I'm hoping to get in most of the remaining miles (just 53 left!) hiked (both ways, of course) before a serious weather change moves in next weekend.


Here's the map showing today's hike route, and a link to a bunch of additional photos:

AT Day 263 - Weverton Cliffs at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Maryland


  1. PJ,

    I have been following your hike for a while now and all I can say is "you are da man!" Amazing feat you have accomplished. (writing this 29 Oct under the rains of Sandy. I'm sure you have completed by now or are darn close)
    The things I am wondering about are where did you sleep each night? You mention your steel tent and I have also seen a mention or two of Walmart (boondocking), but I'm interested in your setup and nightly parking area. Also, what did you carry on each leg. I'm sure it varied depending on the length of the leg, but I'm just wondering. Congrats Seeks It.

  2. Thanks, Joe. I'm under Sandy's wrath as well, but safely indoors. I spent the majority or my nights sleeping in my van, parked wherever I thought I'd be left alone - sometimes at trailhead parking lots, sometimes at 24-hr Wal-Mart parking lots or other grocery stores that are open 24 hours where my presence would not be questioned. Still, I had plenty of encounters with the local police where I parked, but always with pleasant results once I explained that I was hiking the AT.

    During the last weeks, since I have a condo west of Baltimore, MD, I've been commuting from home to my daily hiking venue, enjoying a real bed, shower, real toilet, cooked food, etc.

    What I carried as I hiked did indeed depend on the length of the leg. The essentials went with me almost always - first aid kit, headlamp, rain-poncho/tarp, a spare layer or two of clothing and a spare pair of socks to change into if I got wet. Then I carried enough bottled water and food to keep me going for the length of the particular leg under the weather conditions in which I was hiking.

  3. Awesome. You have definitely inspired me. I plan on doing some of my upcoming sections just like this, but with possibly a night or two spent on the trail. Thanks for the reply.

    Joe (Jefe)