Since I’m taking a day off from hiking, I thought I might also take a day off from writing. About ten seconds later, I decided otherwise. After 17 days of hiking, one streak ended. Today, however, marks 75 consecutive days of posting an account of the adventure. So as I write about a zero day, at least one streak lives on.
Sleeping much later than usual, I found myself eating breakfast at 9:30. Then I spent the remainder of the morning planning my next week’s hikes. Logistically, it’s more challenging to plan using roads as a basis than it is using shelters. Still I eventually choreographed something that appears feasible. With shuttles lined up for tomorrow and Friday, I feel a little more at ease, especially since rain is in the forecast. Hopefully tomorrow’s hike will be completed before the bad weather begins.
In the early afternoon I took the bus back over to Harper’s Ferry and the ATC headquarters. Fidget was signing in, and Runner-up also stopped by while I chatted with Peter Pan. Deciding that I wanted to begin my hike tomorrow at the end of High St., I walked the blue blazed trail back to the AT and went ahead and hiked the .6 mile stretch up to the bridge today. Along the way I walked down to Jefferson Rock. Most have seen the famous picture in a history book. Then I paused at the site of the ruins of the old Episcopal church and also took a pic of the adjacent newer structure.
When I reached the end of this section at High Street, I walked up the hill to look for a spot for a late lunch. Rock Steady suddenly appeared, so we found a tavern to share lunch and some hiker banter. After lunch we walked to the outfitter where I purchased some more aquamira, the water purification treatment that I’m using.
Realizing that it was almost time for the commuter bus, I quickly walked back to the pick-up location across from the ATC office. I made it just in time for the 4:45 shuttle.
After getting dropped off in front of Wal-Mart, I did a little shopping and them walked to a nearby “salon” to get my first professional haircut since the hike began. The hair stylist asked about my hike, so I shared a few details. Then I walked back to the motel. As I neared the building I smiled, for in the parking lot sat the white Volvo with the Ohio plates. Molar Man and Sweet Tooth (formerly Diane) had arrived. When I called the two they invited me to join them for dinner at an Italian place.
Molar Man has been hiking some big days, and is only about a half day behind me now. It was good catching up with the couple while we dined.
Overall, today has been relaxing, although for a while there I wondered why I wasn’t out hiking. Sometimes it’s harder to take a day of rest than it is to hike. My days of the week are also confused. It seemed like Saturday all day. Tomorrow, however, all will be back to the routine of the thru hiker. I’ll arise early, try to consume as many calories as I can tolerate at breakfast, and hit the trail early. The trail in Maryland only runs 41 miles, which I hope to hike over the next two days. Virginia seemed to last forever, but now each state should come and go with rapidity as the walk continues onward north on the Appalachian Trail.