Days 67, 68, 69
We got back to Joe and Fran’s and got to take showers and eat a ton of food. We were going to head out in to town to meet up with Connect 4, but it ended up being pretty late. We went out to downtown Leesburg and had pizza and a few microbrews with Fran and Joe. The second day, we went back in to Harpers to see Flash and Dirty Girl, whom we haven’t seen in a few weeks! We had an awesome reunion and convinced Flash to come zero with us in Leesburg. We went down to the historic part of Harpers Ferry, which is actually a national park with historical reenactors, and took photos and shopped around. We also went shopping at an outfitters, a running store (for new insoles), and Walmart for food. We took a third zero and relaxed and thoroughly cleaned all our gear, which was disgusting after 1000 miles!
I’d like to now delve into so facts and myths about the trail after 1000 miles of walking:
1) Thru hikers aren’t fast hikers. A lot of people comment they could never keep up with me and that’s just not true! Nokey and I may do big days, 21-25, but we actually hike pretty slow, doing about 2-2.5 mph at the end of the day. When you walk for 70 days you can’t push too hard or you’ll hurt yourself. It’s amazing how many thru hikers haven’t learned this yet and are still killing themselves and getting injuries!
2) Virginia is NOT flat, beautiful meadows and farmland! It’s a giant green tunnel with a ton of tough mountains and not many views. I had some good days in Virginia, but I honestly could care less if I never hiked there again. All the good things in Shenandoah were off the AT and all the views were from the road. It’s beautiful from a car, but I’ll pass on the hiking. I liked Virginia better as a tourist in Leesburg, which was a beautiful colonial town. Also, I was always told I’d pull easy 30-mile days in VA. I never came close to 30 ever! I did one 24.8 and one 25.3… My biggest day was in the Smokies and I think it may stay that way.
3) A lot of the fun stuff happens off trail. I’ve always had awesome experiences when hitching in to town or meeting people off the trail. We have a great saying, “the trail will provide,” and it’s very true! If you need anything, chances are you can find it.