Day 42

Luckily, I was able to move to the bottom bunk yesterday after the hiker below me left so getting out of bed was a little easier today. I ate more waffles with bananas and grabbed my day pack. Strings picked me up at 9:15 and drove about 30 minutes north to Turners Gap to drop me off. Fraulein was headed to Waynesboro, PA to begin her section hike of the northern half of the AT. I lucked out with just a $10 fee. The sun was already hot by 10 as I began walking south.

The trail was as flat as it comes on the AT. It was easy walkin’ with some rocks here and there. I soon passed through a civil war battlefield at Fox’s Gap which was part of the Battle for South Mountain (which the AT travels across). Apparently two generals had died there, one Union, one Confederate. After a moderate ascent I reached a view point to the South. I thought I could barely make out tall buildings in the distance that I reckoned was DC. I descended down into Gathland State Park were another battle had taken place and some monuments and ruins stood. I realized I was hiking south through Maryland back to West Virginia so I had missed yet another state line sign.

Just after Gathland State Park I met Tad Pole hiking north. She was planning on hiking 16 miles that day. We chatted for a minute and then were on our way. The trail continued through the green tunnel uneventfully. With 3 miles left I reached a view point of the Potomac River. I was about the descend 800 feet down to the C & O Canal rail trail which leads to a bridge into Harpers Ferry. It was about 4:45 and I was pretty hungry and ready to be done.

I crossed a footbridge over the Potomac back into West Virginia and walked up to the John Brown Museum. The trail passes right by it. I bought an orange and vanilla ice cream and sat down to eat it before going in. I watched three video presentations explaining Brown’s raid on the town in 1859. John Brown was an abolitionist and believed that slavery was immoral according to the Bible. He sought to initiate an armed slave revolt in Southern states by taking over a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry. It has been called the catalyst for the Civil War. Brown was of course caught, tried for treason, and hanged. Some of his last words were: I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. Frederick Douglas, who refused to join Brown in the raid said, “I could live for the slave; John Brown could die for him.”

To me, Brown’s cause feels just as relevant today. Black lives matter. Well, I don’t have time to summarize the entire Civil Documentary so go watch that now…

I finished the day with a chicken pasta dish from the Canal House. I returned the hostel at about 7:30 and planned to hitch a ride in a shuttle No Collar had booked for 9 am the next morning. It had been a long day and my joints were achey and in pain. Some hikers say that’s what happens after a zero day which doesn’t make much sense to me.

Miles: 1043 – 1025.5 (17.5)

Total: 437.1