Hiking and Working on the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park, October 4 – 10, 2018 — Being busy beats boredom more often than not. It’s the same when work is pleasure and pleasure is work.
Road Scholars offers several hikes in our region. The one in which we are normally involved is hiking legs of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in four states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia – in that order. We have one more of these on schedule for this season.
The other offering is four days hiking the AT across Maryland’s 42 miles. This is a gentle hike compared to rest of the AT with most of the miles spent running a ridgeline on an old logging road converted to trail.
We were asked to fill in for leaders who could not make it. Good weather graced our participation and the hikers marched into Harpers Ferry in good spirits.
The next day, my friend and colleague Mary Thurman, currently Blackburn Trail Center caretaker, offered to help with some trail maintenance on the AT in Shenandoah National Park.
On a grossly muggy day, we weeded a couple of miles worth of trail on two sections in the North District and removed seven blowdowns, two by handsaw; the rest with a chainsaw.
The long sleeves, gloves, face shield, and buff are to protect from poison ivy which is atomized by the string trimmer. You can feel the spray as you go.
Soon Mary will be headed for her next gig at the Grand Canyon. I’m going to miss her. This spring my wife and I are going to celebrate my 70th birthday in Colorado with my siblings and cousins. Mary and I plan to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on the way.
Twelve hours later. Here we go again. Time for the White House Hiking Group’s planned hike up Old Rag, Shenandoah’s most popular hike – so popular that it was on Thomas Jefferson’s bucket list back in his day.
We rendezvoused literally at Zero-dark-thirty in order to get a jump on the crowds. On a rare dry day in a rain soaked summer, you just knew people were gonna come, and they did.
Dawn cracked with an unexpected overcast. Since you hike Old Rag for the views we prepared for disappointment. Imagine our delight, popping out of the gloomy clouds into happy sunshine.
Obligatory horsing around photos.
No rest for the wicked. Tuesday and Wednesday brought the Road Scholars again, this time hiking the AT in four states.
This bunch was unique – a running group from Grand Rapids, MI. They’ve been together for decades and were a hoot!
Not until the heavy exercise was over, did the weather turn toward autumn. The humidity and temps are mercifully down just in time for the Hoodlums trail crew next weekend. See you there.