Hello again ladies, gents! Goose here to fill you in on the most recent happenings since our last Appalachian adventure amendment. I'll do my best not to overdo the overtly overwhelming alliterations this go round!
It's hard to believe eight days have already gone by since our last update. That's mostly do to the large number of milestones we've hit recently.
First of which was completing over 25% of the trail in a single state; Virginia, the longest and most misunderstood terrain we've encountered thus far. I say misunderstood because most people we talked to said 'it's the flattest portion on the whole trail.' Well, maybe some folks got to hike in the 'other' Virginia where it's nothing but flat grasslands and mulberry trees as far as the eye can see. We, on the other hand, were blessed with a very long state filled with a wide variety of rocks, plains, hills, and hollers. Apparently we weren't the only group who heard that same bit of misinformation so 'Virginia's flat' has turned into a running joke amongst thru-hikers. All things considered we felt very privileged to have hiked through such a beautiful state, but didn't mind saying our goodbyes. It was very a momentous occasion making it to Harpers Ferry, WV which is considered the symbolic half way point on the AT. However, we weren't in West Virginia long. We stopped in for a quick bite to eat at Hannah's Train Depot after going to the ATC headquarters and registering as official thru-hikers. It felt nice getting our pictures taken and logging them into the 'class of 2015' notebook, but that night we ended up just outside of Knoxville, MD. So in one day we left two states behind and began heading for the Mason Dixon line. However, the 40 mile section of Maryland didn't fly by quite as quickly as expected.
We were a few miles south of our campsite for the night- Dahlgren Backpacker Campground- when we began finding glass bottles scattered on either side of the trail. Nothing out of the ordinary at first, but those 'scattered' sections continued for the next few miles. Eventually we found ourselves carrying bags of bottles in each available hand, and even stringing multiple bags across my walking stick. Needless to say we were very happy when Dahlgren Campsite came into view. We were even happier moments later when the Maryland Forest Service showed up and offered to take the 50+ pounds of trash to the dump for us. That was our biggest haul of trail trash in a single day, and from the state we've spent the least time in thus far. What a way to say goodbye to the South!
We crossed the Mason Dixon line, leaving the South behind, on June 18th. We also passed the official half way point for 2015 (1095 miles). Both of which are huge achievements for us, and serve as little inspirations to keep us encouraged. So far the North has been great to us. The terrain between Waynesboro, PA and Duncannon where we are now has been great! I'm sure it will change, but after expecting Virginia to be 'flat' for over 30 days we decided to form our own opinions about the trail.
Enough about what we've accomplished over the past week. Let's talk about one of our favorite conversation topics- FOOD! We've altered our nutrition a bit since this trip began. We started out relying upon Idaho instant potatoes and pre-made rice sides for dinner, Cliff bars and trail mixes for snacks, and hot oatmeal for breakfast. After many days of preparation, trial/error, and even more days of conversation about it we've mixed it up. Our breakfast now consists of chia seeds, nuts, berries, granola, and peanut butter. Our snacks have been streamlined into nuts, berries (foraged for if possible), and fruit bars. Finally, our dinners now are a delicate blend of deliberately selected spices, boiled brown rice, tuna, and usually a handful of corn chips in a flour tortilla. Our diets have changed so much since the beginning, and I'm sure the crucible of experience will continue to alter then as days go by.
Some of you guys might be wondering how we prepare the delicious meals listed above. Well, it's to be expected that the three guys sharing the same tarp ,or the 'green room' as its called, also share cookware. We set up a single denatured alcohol stove inside a home made windscreen held together by paper clips and aluminum tent stakes. I know it might sound shaky, but it cooks for three guys every night and hasn't failed yet.
Well, it's time now to go handle our 'townly' duties which entail going shopping for the next walk in the woods, trying to find a cheap hot shower, and hopefully a clean river or laundromat to give my clothes a much needed bath.
We'll be doing another post here very shortly so keep checking our blog or social media sites for updates. I want to thank everyone once again for the support we've received so far. This trip simply would not be possible without you guys. We'll be needing all the help and encouragement we can get as we embark on the second leg of this grand adventure. As always, stay positive and keep packing it out.
Your friendly neighborhood Goose