Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome to West Virginia

This was a big milestone day.    The first big deal for today was walking into West Virginia.  Finally, out of Virginia.  I feel like I’ve been hiking in Virginia for 10 years.  Virginia boast of having the most trail miles of any other state--536 miles (25% of the entire trail).  That’s plenty.  Second, we are now over the 1000 mile mark along the trail.  Of course, this certainly isn’t the huge deal that the thru-hikers experience as they cross the 1000 mile mark having done that within the past 2, 3 or 4 months.  But we are still excited about that milestone.

We were also happy to finish the roller coaster.  I was walking north again today so my first four miles was over this beast.  I think I was as happy to be done with that as anything else.  While at Crescent Rocks, I got a couple shots of the view from there.  With the zoom lens through the haze, I got a close up of the mansion on the opposite hillside.  I guess that’s the million dollar view from their front windows.

Mansion on the next ridge over

Crescent Rocks is a pretty popular rock climbing spot.  There was no one there when I passed by, but Gene saw several climbers this afternoon as he passed by.

View from Crescent Rocks

After the roller coaster, the trail improved greatly.  It leveled out considerably; plus, there were fewer rocks.  Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of rocks, but there was much more dirt.  I ran into a trail maintainer near Blackburn Trail Center.  He had paint brush and paint in hand.  I guess he was repainting blazes.  I spoke to him for a few minutes and suggested he remove a few of the rocks.  He just laughed.

Blackburn Trail Center is a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club facility.  It’s kinda like a gathering place for work crews.  They also have a bunkhouse for thru-hikers and a camping area.  Word on the trail is that they’re serving hikers spaghetti dinner each night.  It is three-tenths of a mile, almost straight down, off the tail.  That’s three-tenths of a mile straight up to get back to the trail.  Neither of us went down there today.

As you can see, I made a picture of the “Welcome to West Virginia” sign.  I was so excited I didn’t even think about looking at the back side.  Since Gene was walking south, that was the side he saw first.  Naturally, it said, “Welcome to Virginia”, and it also included the next border crossing--Tennessee Border, 536 miles.  Wish I’d made a picture of that.

Tomorrow’s hike will take us through Harpers Ferry and into Maryland.  Now there are a couple other milestones.

That’s all I have the energy for today.

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