Appalachian Trail -

Closed

It wouldn’t be a day of traveling on the trail with out something unexpected happening. While I was in the library in Front Royal writing the last blog post on our site, I left my headlights on. For about three hours I sat in the library working away, talking with our friend Bonzo we were meeting up with, completely unaware that my battery was slowly dying outside. Thank goodness Bonzo and I hadn’t really agreed on a place to meet and when I called him he was only minutes from the library. When he arrived I hopped in, turned the key and heard nothing. My heart dropped, not yet realizing that my lights were on and thinking that something serious had happened to our beloved Jeep. When I hoped out, I saw the lever for my lights was on and realized what happened. I was so thankful that Bonzo was there to help me out, with the help of a good Samaritans jumper cables we were on our way to meet Buddy and Dion at the trail. Dion thought the road crossing was in 9 miles, instead of the 12 it actually was, but that was fine with Bonzo and I. We hung out and caught up on all the things that had happened in our lives since we last saw each other until Dion and Buddy arrived.

They bounced up the blue blaze to the 601 parking lot with big smiles on their faces when they saw who was waiting with me for them to arrive. Bonzo was so sweet, he brought ice cream and chocolate milk for Buddy and beer for Dion. They were both equally as thrilled! They had been having a great day on the trail, there wasn’t a lot of snow left on the ground but Buddy liked watching it drip off the tree limbs as they walked by. We hung out with Bonzo for a while after they arrived, but once we realized it was already 4:45, we knew they weren’t going to make it to the next road crossing, finishing the 20 mile day they had planned. We decided instead to all hike in together the next 3 miles to the Rod Hollow Shelter.

We said goodbye to Bonzo and thanked him for coming out to hangout for the day before hitting the trail again. We hiked the 3 miles in about an hour and a half, arriving at the shelter a little after dark. We emptied the food bag and went to town on all the snacks I had brought before passing out for the night. We were all pretty tired so we went to bed early and didn’t wake up till 8 this morning. We were greeted by another sunny beautiful day when we woke up this morning. I packed the boys up and they headed out about 9 for their 18 mile day. They are going to be hiking to the Blackburn AT center, where I will pick them up and we will go stay with Bonzo in Harpers Ferry tonight.

We ended up going out with Bonzo to a great pool hall called Longshot’s for dinner last night, the food was amazing! We were all so tired so unfortunately we weren’t very talkative dinner guests, but we did have a great time with Bonzo, as always. He is such a great guy, we are so glad that we’ve met him! We stayed the night at his place and woke this morning to a few inches of snow on the hood of the Jeep. Usually we would take snow over rain on any day, but in this case we would have welcomed grey clouds and drops pounding down over the fluffy white stuff. Snow on the ground means that Skyline Drive is probably going to be closed. But with only three days to go, this will not be the thing to stop us from finishing or skipping a single step. We drove back down south to Front Royal from Harpers Ferry this morning and I dropped them off at VA683 where they left off from three days earlier and they are going to hike north t0 US 522 where the entrance to Skyline Drive is. As of right now, 11:48am the road is still closed. If when I go to meet them in an hour the road is still closed we will have two options. The first would be to load up our backpacks, leave the car in the parking lot and hike into the park, hoping that we will be able to get a ride out on tomorrow evening from a ranger to get back to our car and drive back to Harpers Ferry tomorrow night. Second option would be to get a ranger to drive us back to Beahms Gap where we left off and hike north back to the gate and get out tomorrow night on our own then hop in the Jeep and head back to Harpers. I am going to go call the Ranger Station and see what can be worked out. I am hoping they will be able to give us a ride in today, that would be so much easier. The weather is sunny but chilly today so I don’t think the chances of the road opening back up today are any good. Tomorrow it is suppose to be mi-40’s and clear skies, so as always let’s think positive and hope the weather will cooperate! There isn’t anything that will stop us from finishing on Monday at 4. We have overcome so many other obstacles to complete this hike, a small wooden gate certainly won’t stop us now! We knew coming in that Skyline closes often in the winter, now we just need to figure out how to deal with it.

Only 3 more days left on the trail. 3 days till Buddy reaches the ATC office and becomes the youngest person to complete a thru hike on the AT. He’s so awesome.