Time to celebrate. After five weeks in Virginia, Dream and RickRock reached Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, headquarters of the AT, and passed the 1,000-mile mark! They'll cover the 40 miles of trail in Maryland in the next two days, then it's on to Pennsylvania. Officials at the AT headquarters told Dream he was the 834th hiker to come through the headquarters this year; RickRock was number 835. The officials also said there have been 120 more hikers than last year on this date. While at Harper's Ferry, Dream weighed both himself and his pack. The pack came in at 47 pounds. He registered an even 150, meaning he has lost another 8 pounds, for a total weight loss of 38 pounds.
Dream and RickRock aren't the only hikers celebrating their arrival at Harper's Ferry. If all goes well, on Saturday, June 26, after section-hiking for 21 years, five women known as "The Mountain Marching Mommas" will reach Harper's Ferry and finally complete the AT! Details below.
Though hiking in the Shenandoah was easier than any other place on the trail so far, northern Virginia has proved to be no picnic. In the area known as the "Roller Coaster", our hikers faced eight steep mountains tucked together as tight as an accordion. A sign near the entrance warns hikers to proceed at their own risk. The experience brought them back to reality. Good thing. Katahdin is still more than 1,000 miles away.
In an ongoing effort to lighten his load, Dream sat down one morning and ate all four cups of pudding I had shipped to him. That man will make any excuse to get more butterscotch pudding.
As webmaster Mike mentioned in his transmittal post, I've spent the last several days in North and South Dakota at a family reunion. Over 150 people came from all four corners of the United States. Ages ranged from a few weeks to mid-90s. As a whole, the experience was educational, entertaining, and encouraging. I was particularly pleased to see that one of my ancestors owned a camera shop, though I must have missed those genes. While in the Dakotas, I bought a disposable camera to replace my regular heavy camera. I'd like to think I had captured the essence of my German/Dutch ancestors from the rugged wilderness of the prairie, the inscriptions on their gravemarkers, and the faces of the newborn generation. But, alas, somewhere along the way, I lost the camera.
Finally, a hiking tip to share with those of you planning to head for the trail. Dream's boots, Vasque Sundowners, are still in great condition. Based on comparisons he has made with other hikers' boots, he is convinced that he has extended the longevity of his boots by wearing gaiters every day. Even the short gaiters keep water and debris out of his boots-not unlike wearing rubber boots to protect your shoes. If Dream's mom were alive today, she'd be shaking her finger at him, smiling, and saying, "I told you so."