We’ve fallen into a new group of hikers who we’d been walking behind for a while but never met. The kids enjoyed the social attention and had a new audience to whom to retell their whole life story. The park also brings trail side creature comforts not available in most places. The trail winds along parallel to Skyline drive, crossing it repeatedly (the construction of skyline drive actually displaced the original route of the AT, the acceptance of which actually led to a rift between the original founders of the Appalachian Trail Conference-spurring the anti-roadway faction to form The a Wilderness Society).
Although the car noise and frequent road crossings do remove some of the wilderness feeling, it’s hard not to appreciate the trail side camp stores and restaurants that provide almost daily opportunities for burgers and ice cream. RobinHood saw an eight point buck and Cartwheel and All In watched a bear lumber across skyline drive in the early morning mist. We ate a the local wayside, the kids met some new friends from another hiking family with whom we will meet up further down the trail, and they all listened to a park service presentation on deer in the park.
Today was a rainy day, and we stopped earlier then usual to enjoy some time reading, writing and playing cards in one of the park shelters (called a hut here, but still three-sided). Our friend Kickapoo caught us from behind (she is doing long days to meet a friend in Harpers a Ferry). After an excited reunion, we were also treated to the news of all hat was behind us on the trail (including where our others trail friends were spread about). It’s always fun to catch up on news from behind (the notebooks in the shelters provide some news from those ahead). Kickapoo was also walking with a hiker named Wired who is completing her Triple Crown (a term given to thru-hiking the PCT, CDT and AT). Wired also keeps a log (search “walking with wired”), and we had a fun social evening).