Journals From A 2003 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail (by Loony)
Entry #82 – June 28, 2003
6:45 AM – Somehow we’ve made it – over a thousand miles, anyway. Before we left, having no idea of what to expect or any comprehension of what we’d actually be doing. I made a rough schedule. It was basically just to be sure we’d finish before Baxter State Park in Maine closed for the winter. Well, we were scheduled to be in Harper’s Ferry, WV by the 28th of June, and now here I am, sitting at the Hilltop House Hotel overlooking 3 states, where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet. It’s a sight that people since (and probably before) Thomas Jefferson, people have been calling spectacular.
I need to backtrack, though, as I’ve been getting lazy. Town always seems to do that. Woke up before 6 & left a bit after 7 to finish our ride on the roller coaster. It really wasn’t so bad. We decided that since we’d resisted the opportunities to eat big meals in SNP that we’d stop after 7 or so miles at the Horseshoe Curve Restaurant, just about 0.3 off the Trail. Got there at 11:00, an hour before they opened, so we waited around. At noon we went in and had delicious cheeseburgers, fries and onion rings. Definitely worth the wait & side trip. Gazelle, Sketch and Hopeful showed up, too. Continue on with full bellies, and in 3 or so miles, the roller coaster was over and we hit the WV/VA border. We were FINALLY out of Virginia! A great feeling.
Weren’t sure how far we’d go that day. Stopped for a break at the last shelter before Harper’s Ferry, about 9 miles out. It was about 6:30, so we decided to move on to Keys Gap, 3 more miles. There was a store 0.3 miles off the Trail again there, so the thought of cold pop and ice cream is what motivated us. The Trail section was easy, so we cruised. We even passed the 1,000 mile mark – it was spelled out in rocks on the Trail. A THOUSAND miles – we couldn’t believe it. Started singing dumb songs about walking 1,000 miles. Got down to the road before 8 and headed to the store. Each had a pint of ice cream and got a 6-pack of beer to bring back to the campsite for a little celebration. Sketch & Gazelle showed up, too, so we all tented in the same spot. Had to pick up some extra water at the store, as the spring in the area was polluted. 🙁
4:40 PM – Woke early again, even though we only had 6 or so miles into Harper’s Ferry. It was a great feeling to be so close. Crossed the Shenandoah and spied the Comfort Inn around 10:30 or 11. At the sight of the hotel we immediately abandoned the Trail for the shoulder of the highway.
Were able to check in, but were disappointed in the high price for what we got @ the hotel. No pool or anything special – just cable TV (and they didn’t even have HGTV). =8^O After checking in and chilling for a bit, we headed for the post office, to pick up some supplies @ the 7-11 and to do laundry. What a pain-everything is so spaced out in the area that it took us forever. Plus, Andy was carrying around everything in his backpack (laundry, 12-pack of beer, 2 liter of Coke, etc…), so it wasn’t very restful! After walking 2 or 3 miles around that side of town, we headed down towards the historic section & the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conference) Headquarters. Got to “sign-in” @ the ATC, to be recognized as “official” 2003 thru-hikers. Had our picture taken for their album, too. We were #’s 476 & 477 to come through this year. After that is was down to the Outfitter to check out all the cool gear we couldn’t afford (to buy or carry!) It was there that we ran into DoubleDare. Said he was going to have a beer @ The Armory Pub. Andy said we’d join him for one. Note he said ONE – as it was 4:00 already and we hadn’t even been @ the hotel much – not at all, really. Well, we went down to the pub and you guessed it – the rest is history. DoubleDare kept buying round after round – without our consent, I swear! This, after the bartender is going on about the beer we’re drinking (Appalachian Ale – West Virginia Brewing Company) being the most expensive microbrew around after Guinness or something. To sum it up, DD’s bill was somewhere over $100 – Left when they closed at 8:00 PM, but it didn’t stop there. On we went to some other place almost a mile up the main street. The Appalachian Inn, I think it was. Had one beer and told DD we were cutting ourselves off! Who knew he was such a bad influence, ha HA! ;D
Long story short, got back to the hotel around midnight. Definitely did not get our money’s worth that time. (at the hotel, anyway.)