Road Scholars

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Appalachian Trail, The Roller Coaster, Northern Virginia, September 27, 2017 — The nonprofit Road Scholar program seeks to provide unique learning experiences for adult life-long learners.  You can learn more at this link:  Road Scholar Program

One of the many experiences they offer several times a year is hiking on the AT in four states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.  The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club supports these hikes with expert hike leaders be they ridgerunners in season or trail patrol members at other times.

These day hikes are moderate in relative terms both in terrain and distance.  To some, especially hikers who aren’t in the best physical shape, they can be quite challenging.  Fortunately for them, the sag wagon meets the group whenever possible.

With only one ridgerunner remaining in Maryland for this season, I led the roller coaster section last Wednesday.  The hike is short, about six miles, but the terrain is fairly rocky featuring a backbone of several nasty little hills after which the roller coaster is named.

This particular group was lively and amicable.  Some were faster than others, but we kept them together with frequent rest stops and a lunch break at the Sam Moore shelter.

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We stopped to wait at every stream crossing.  That’s where the propensity to slip and fall is the greatest.  Should we ever suffer a casualty, we would need everyone’s support to manage an emergency.

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Boomers are no different than Millennials and Gen Xers.  Heads in phones at every stop.  They had a 16 passenger van with a trailer for their gear.

Sisu

One mile an hour!

Kinsman Pond Shelter, NH, AT NOBO mile 1,807.4, Tuesday June 17, 2014 — Expect to make about one mile an hour. Everybody said it. I believed it, sort of, but not really.

Well, it’s true. We hiked 11.5 miles today in eleven hours. Bingo.

If Moosilauke is where Momma Nature set her first line of defense, we’re getting beyond the screen now. We made 1.6 mph until about noon, then an endless rockfall earned our total attention. The poles got stowed and hand over hand climbing ruled the day.

At one point I slipped on a rock and tweaked some tendons in my right foot. In response I doubled down on the vitamin I (ibuprofen) and laced my boot as tightly as possible.

We’re camped at a pond, so the water near shore isn’t cold enough to help decrease the swelling. I’m using my compression sock instead. We’ll have a verdict in the morning.

The Appalachian Mountain Club operates a series of huts throughout the White Mountains. Our goal today was to reach Lonesome Lake hut, 1.9 miles from here. We realized we couldn’t do it before dark, so we called it a day.

Normally the huts cost $125 per night for a bunk, dinner and breakfast. Thru hikers can to work for stay, or as we were told tonight, stay (as AMC members) for a highly reduced rate. We also can buy meals during the day. The huts could be a real bonus if everything works out.

Rain is forecast overnight. Rocky trails are dangerous. We’ll see in the morning.

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Cooking dinner at Kinsman Pond