Trail Update #11 – Harper’s Ferry, WV

These libraries in these towns are killing me! They really do make it difficult to upload images to WordPress. I can’t even find the actual computer at this place, all I see is the monitor!

But enough of that – because I have reached Harper’s Ferry! Yes, the unofficial halfway point of my journey has been attained. I went to the ATC today to register and get my picture taken, a must for any long distance hikers on the AT. All in all, it’s an awesome feeling to get here. As I was coming down into town yesterday, I thought back to when I started my trip, and how I had pictured reaching Harper’s Ferry. The way you picture things like that is never how it is in real life. I had imagined the trees lined in gold, the sun shining down on me, and me walking into town with a sturdy gait. However, reality would deal me a different card, as I clambered into town, rain dropping from the sky, fresh blisters hobbling my stride, and still another half mile to walk to my hostel (after spinning around in circles trying to find the blazes to follow). But although it wasn’t as I imagined, it was an awesome experience to reach this town. About a mile out of town, I sat and took a rest, overlooking the Chesapeake River. I recorded a little video of myself, and swigged down the last of the whiskey Paul sent me a ways back. Physically, I did not feel as I had hoped. But mentally, I never imagined feeling the way I do now. This journey all kind of felt like a dream before, kind of floating around in the back of my mind. But now, it feels real. I am starting to believe, and focus, on the end goal. Before reaching this town, all my thought was going into getting here. But now I’ve attained this milestone, so the focus will all shift to the terminus of the journey, Mount Katahdin.

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Obviously, reaching Harper’s Ferry has been the major highlight of the past week or so. But some other things happened as well, both good and bad. On the good side, I finally broke into the quadruple digit range, as I broke 1,000 miles shortly before reaching town. In the same stretch, I also left the state of Virginia behind. After trekking about 500 miles through that state, it was a great feeling to put it behind me. I also had two more good bear sightings after the ones I reported on in my last post. The first of the two was pretty neat, but slightly scary. I saw two cubs, but never saw the mama bear – that I did not like at all. I looked everywhere for her but couldn’t find her. The second was my best sighting so far. I saw two cubs, and then about ten yards from them, I saw the mama bear. She was probably about twenty to twenty-five yards from me. She just kind of stared at me, I stared at her, made a little noise to make sure she knew I was there. She seemed cool with it all. So I backed away a little bit, then just started walking again as normal. It was a pretty neat experience. I wasn’t scared of her at all. I think it’s a little different with bears, than say, snakes. Snakes you have no idea what they’re thinking. But a bear you can read at least a little bit. At least I think I can, a little bit. I didn’t get a picture of her, as I didn’t think flashing lights in her face would be the best move at the time. I started to reach for my camera and thought better of that. But I did get a picture of one of the cubs in the earlier sighting. He was looking right at me a split second before I snapped this – but it’s not a horrible picture:

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On the negative side, my buddy Colonel Patches hopped off the trail today after reaching Harper’s Ferry. He is completing the trail in two large sections – the first bringing him from Georgia to Harper’s Ferry. I saw him just before he jumped on a train to DC, all snazzed up and wearing regular human clothes. It was kind of bizarre to see him in something other than the one shirt I’ve seen him in for the past few weeks. And I know it was even more bizarre for him to be leaving the trail and returning to real life after two and a half months of the hiker life. But he’ll be back out next summer to do the second half of his journey. So good work Colonel Patches (he’s on the left of the picture. Bud is the other dude).

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So now I’m just hanging in Harper’s Ferry. I had lunch today at Private Quinn’s Pub (good thing it’s not quinns privates or else it’d be too small for anyone to get into). So that was pretty awesome. I was really hoping for a free beer or something, but the bartender just told me she sees a lot of Quinns come through there. So apparently I wasn’t anything special, haha. But I got some cool shirts for the family, so it was a trip well worth it.

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This dude Bud took this neat picture a while back. We were just marveling at it today. So enjoy.

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I need to get out of this library soon since they’re closing down! They’re shooing me out the door right now. But I keep telling them that my fans in Russia need an update – they’re waiting on my update!!!

7 replies
  1. Mom
    Mom says:

    Chris, your writing is awesome! I can feel your excitement and see what your seeing!!! I wish Daddy and I could have met you in Harper’s Ferry! We would have celebrated your half way point. How exciting that is! Congratulations on a job well done!!! The pic of the cub is great although your bear stories are still scaring me!! Please be careful!! Love the picture of you and your friends. It’s nice to see who you’ve been hanging out with. So, keep on trekking!! Hopefully daddy and I will meet up with you in a week or so. Be safe! I love you!! Once again, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

    Reply
  2. mark
    mark says:

    Ya Comrade Yuri! Stolichnaya anyone? The Hump point…it’s all down hill from here. Best of luck…Uncle Mark-Aunt Bern, Drew, Taylor and Rachel.

    Reply
  3. Dad
    Dad says:

    Hey Bear-Whisperer, apologies to you and your brothers for passing on the small Quinn privates – my bad!! Love ya and miss ya!!

    Reply
  4. Kylene
    Kylene says:

    LOL – the small Quinn privates joke made me laugh hysterically… so glad you are kicking that trails butt, Toad! Best of luck on the rest of your journey and I agree with your mom – your writing really is awesome, dude. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Rusty
    Rusty says:

    It’s great to read your updates — congratulations on passing the halfway mark! It’s been a long time since we hiked near Erwin but it sounds like you are doing awesome. Best of luck with the rest of the trail!

    -Rusty

    Reply

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