Posted by: athike2011 | May 23, 2011



Rocky run shelter

Had to get in to harpers ferry by noon today so I could pick up my packages from the post office. Got up at 5 and made the 9 miles by 9:30. Got my packages picked up and bounced two boxes forward to Eli. Went to the ATC and got my picture taken and such. From there I walked to the outfitter to get a new pair of gaiters and a new platypus water bladder, then a burger for lunch, followed by a bit of relaxing in a park.

Harpers Ferry isn’t really my type of town, it a very historic old time type place and everything is priced accordingly.


I decided to do an additional 15 miles out of town so that tomorrow will be 15 into smithsburg for resupply and the hockey game. Walk was easy and the shelter was really nice, even sporting hardwood floors.


Raven rock shelter

Today, what a day…
I hiked 15 miles to the road to town by noon. The wife of a thru hiker I haven’t met before was sitting their waiting for him with trail magic for other hikers, she has done this before as well and recognized me from last time. She gave me an apple and a bag of skittles, then offered me a ride to town. My knees are hurting a lot today. I’ll give it one week to get better before I go to the doctor.

I resupplied at the food lion and grabbed a sandwich at subway. While ordering my sandwich, the woman behind me asked, “are you going to eat that whole thing?” I laughed, told her how many miles I had done, and told her it would be gone in four minutes.

I walked 2 miles from there to the bar to watch the hockey game. While I was there some guy won the jackpot on one of the pull tab bins and bought 3 rounds for the bar. Everyone was very friendly, the owner even gave me a jar of planters cashews.


After my team was thoroughly dwvistated, I packed up to leave and casually asked around about hitch hiking in the area, hoping to spark generosity, but no luck. Headed out to start hitching, after a while I realized it wasn’t going to happen and started walking. I walked all the way back to the trail and then still had 5 miles to get to the shelter.

I finally got to the sign for the spring, but it didn’t say anything about the shelter, so I looked at my book, which said it was .1 east, and the gps on my phone showed it just down the hill. At this point it’s starting to get decently dark so I hustled down the hill, over half a mile later I find an empty falling apart shelter. The people I was supposed to meet weren’t there and it didn’t look like the nice shelter I had heard about. After some thinking I realized I must be in the wrong place. It was pretty dark now so I took out my headlamp, which wouldn’t turn on. I switched the batteries, still wouldn’t turn on. After fiddling for a bit it turned on for a moment but then went back off. When I couldn’t get it to turn back on, I got very frustrated and smashed it on a rock. I hiked back up to the AT in the dark, I looked at my camera, which has pictures of the other version of the book, which said the shelter was west, not east. I figured I hadn’t reached the trail yet. I walked probably a half mile further before turning around. At this point I started to freak out a bit. I couldn’t see blazes anymore and had no idea where I was or where I was going. Everything was too rocky to tent on. I called my dad as I was struggling to maintain my sanity and figure out what to do. As he’s realizing I’m freaking out a bit, my reception cut out, which I’m sure was fun for him. Finally I somehow manage to stumble on to a sign for the new shelter, which is facing the wrong way, way too high in a tree. As I got my sanity back and walked to the shelter, I called my dad back to let him know all was well. I’m looking forward to it being tomorrow.

Side note: stupid iPhone lost all this and I had to type it twice.



  1. What a day! Don’t you worry tomorrow will be better … Thankfully you had a bit of reception to talk to us through your dilemma.


  2. Ugh…sounds like an awful and incredibly frustrating evening!

    Did you get your new kicks from Merrill (or was it Keen)?

  3. Free bar cashews make terrible “breadcrumb trails” because racoons and hillbillies may pick them off the ground while foraging at night in the woods for meth. Be safe while walking in the dark and don’t step in any raccoon or meth dumps. (PS Yesterday I scored what looks like the tv in your last bar stop for free. Panasonic 50″ plasma with the same what Duffy referred to as “futuristic feet”.)(PPS Duff was hanging at O’Blarneys with one of the Redskins and has the picture to prove it).

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