The original plan was to make it to Crampton Gap Shelter the first night, but we got a late start, so we decided to just make camp at the Ed Garvey Memorial Shelter.
Historic Harpers Ferry
We started this trek at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Turns out that they are closed on Monday and Tuesday, so we were not able to check in. We did, however, take a picture in front of the building.
We started our trek from the Potomac River crossing. My mom, step dad, and oldest daughter decided to walk with us across the foot bridge before telling us goodbye.
C&O Canal Townpath – Mile 1026.4
Once off the Byron Memorial Footbridge, the Appalachian Trail merges with the C&O Canal Townpath. The next 3 or so miles are a flat crushed granite path that runs next to the Potomac River and canal.
Weverton Road – Mile 1029.6
Once you cross over Weverton Road, your first climb begins. It is definitely nothing like the climbs in Georgia, but it will get your heart pumping. We also got our first taste of a rocky path. You will definitely want to watch your footing.
Ed Garvey Memorial Shelter – Mile 1032.4
We reached the Ed Garvey Shelter earlier than expected, but decided to go ahead and make camp anyway.
The shelter is super nice and sleeps 12. There are 2 tenting areas, both with several spots.
The water source is .4 miles down a pretty steep hill, which means .4 miles coming back up a pretty steep hill. We needed water, so after setting up camp, we made our way down.
There is an unreliable water source .1 mile down, but it was dry; so we started the trek the rest of the way down.
We were both pretty tired, so coming back up took a lot longer than expected, lol.
The tenting areas are really nice, we were able to fit two 2-person tents on one “pad”.
Each pad also had its own fire ring.
The next morning we made the 4-mile trek to Gathland State Park after hanging around and talking to some other hikers that morning.
I had planned for us to get out of camp by 0800 as we were meeting my Mom at the State Park, but when you are talking, time seems to get away from you and we didn’t head out until almost 9am!
Memorial Marker – Mile 1034.7
I love coming across things that are unexpected! I did not see this listed in the A.T. Guidebook or GutHook. At first I thought it was a grave out in the middle of nowhere, but after reading it, it is a memorial marker.
Gathland State Park – Mile 1036.1
We arrived at Gathland State Park about 2 hours after leaving the shelter and that was with me making several stops to take pictures of cicadas and other things I came across on the trail. I eventually just told Clayton to go ahead, because I knew he was getting tired waiting on me, lol. The trek to the park is easy, even with 4 days of food and no trail legs.
We took our time looking around at the buildings, our favorite was the old tomb.
This is a relatively easy section, perfect for those just starting out. I wasn’t sure how we would handle it, and that first climb will get your heart pumping, but we got to camp a lot earlier than expected.
All in all the 10 miles only took 6 hours (4 hours the first day and 2 hours the second day) and that was with me stopping to take a ton of pictures and catch my breath.
My pack weight with 4 days of food and 3L of water was 25 pounds and his was 30 pounds. The reason for the water carry was due to the fact it was June, knowing I down water like crazy when it is warm and humid, and knowing water sources dry up and there may be longer stretches between fill-ups.
In reality, we would have been good with only carrying 2L and pushing through to the next shelter which was 4 miles further down.
Unfortunately, I am putting this on hold once again. Clayton opened up the prior night stating he was not having fun. He liked the hiking aspect of it but not the carrying 4 days of food (he does require a lot more calories than the normal person, so he has a heavier food haul) or the camping part of it lol.
Since this is supposed to be his before college vacation, and knowing I want to spend this time with him before he starts that new chapter in his life, I decided to get off the trail with him the next day.
We have a ton of adventures planned, so make sure to stay tuned.
As for as my AT journey, I may try to come back out in August after I drop him off at ASU and do a LASH, but my thru-hike will have to wait until February 2025 when my husband and I do it (we were supposed to do it together in 2020, but a job landed in his lap that he really wanted, so we pushed it to 2025 which is when our house will be paid off).
I am not disappointed or sad. Life happens and being a Military wife for 20 years taught me to just roll with the punches.
If I do not do a LASH this year I may decide to do a shorter long trail this fall instead (maybe the Ozark Highlands Trail).
Watch the Video
STARTED: Harpers Ferry
FINISHED: Gathland State Park
MILES HIKED: 10 miles
MEMORABLE MOMENTS: The .4 mile hike downhill to the water source at the shelter and knowing we’d have to hike it back up.