I woke up early and noticed that my hiking buddies were a lot closer to me now than they were when I went to bed. The overnight rains had leaked down to the ledge in places and forced some minor relocations – I stayed bone dry. Savage wasn’t so lucky – her sleeping bag was soaked.
The five of us packed up and reviewed our options for the day. Savage was going to hitch back into town with Champa – she needed to dry her bag and he was going to meet another hiker in town.
Black Santa, McDoubles and I had decided to camp at Annapolis Rocks – we’d heard from a few hikers and locals that it shouldn’t be missed. Black Santa and McDoubles left early – I stayed behind and had breakfast with Savage and Champa.
After eating, they made their way up to the highway and I started hiking north. The AT quickly ascends to a ridge that runs north/south through western Maryland. It was rocky, but not nearly as bad as that descent into Harper’s Ferry.
I stopped at the Ed Garvey Shelter to use the privy and ran into McDoubles – he was having a quick breakfast. After I grabbed a quick breakfast as well, we both left at around 9:00.
Despite the rocky terrain, we were making great time. The trail eventually leveled off as we approached the Garland State Park. We paused by the bathrooms to refill water and saw a hiker napping in the gazebo in the distance. It was Black Santa – we walked over as he was getting up.
McDoubles pressed ahead – I hung out with Black Santa while he packed up. We decided that we’d definitely hitch into Boonsboro, MD to buy some treats for dinner.
Note: In Maryland and Pennsylvania, the AT crosses more roads and goes through many more towns than in the South. I’ll have multiple opportunities each day moving forward to make it into town if need be.
We hiked on along the ridge for three hours, eventually hitting the Dahlgren Backpack Campground at 1:00pm. I found Juan relaxing the shade – he told us McDoubles was just a few minutes ahead.
We found him at Turner’s Gap, the road crossing to hitch into Boonsboro. He was eager to make it to Annapolis Rocks – I caught a quick hitch into town with Black Santa, stopping at a local grocery store to purchase food for our Memorial Day feast.
An hour later we were back on the trail, heading towards the original Washington Monument. It was built by volunteers in 1827 and promised our first real view of the valley below. It was kinda cool. Black Santa and I found Juan (again relaxing in the shade) and the three of us took in the views. I climbed to the top – very steep stairs, but totally worth it.
Annapolis Rocks at five miles ahead. It was hot and getting late in the afternoon. I was also carrying raw meat and decided to push hard to camp. About a mile outside of camp, McDoubles texted letting us know he found a campsite. We arrived at 7:00 and quickly set up our tents.
Black Santa set up his brand new Big Agnes Copperspur 2 – the same tent I’ll be getting in a week. It’s really nice – I’m gonna like it a lot. I set up his old tent and the four of us headed to the rock outcropping to watch the sunset. It was easily one of the best views I’ve had on the AT.
We returned to camp and cooked by headlamp – I ate way too much and returned to my tent to write.
* * *
Tomorrow, I’ll definitely be hitching into Waynesboro, MD to hit the Walmart for a three day resupply – I need to buy things I couldn’t find at the local grocery in Boonsboro.
This will put me in Boiling Springs, PA by Friday and in Duncannon, PA on Sunday morning. I’ll stay in Duncannon at the “famous” Doyle Hotel Sunday night and will visit the post office Monday morning before leaving town.
I should have some packages arriving (including the one that’s presumably waiting for me in Harper’s Ferry). If anyone would like to send some food my way, get it in the mail this week. The address for the post office in Duncannon is:
Breakfast: two 20 gram Clif protein bars (chocolate hazelnut)
Snack: 6 PB crackers, raisins
Lunch: bag of beef jerky, one LD Oatmeal Cream Pie, 12 PB crackers
Dinner: three hot Italian sausages (no campfires allowed so I cooked them in my pot over my stove), Parmesan Pasta Side, dozen strawberries, four small French rolls