April 3

 We arrived at Harpers Ferry, WV, today and have now completed 104 miles since we started, 10 days ago.  I have been having some foot and knee problems so I got some new boots and we decided to stay at the hostel in town.  Andrew is doing great as always and I have a knee brace now and bandages on three toes and both heels, but morale is high and life is good in the woods.

We did our first re-supply last weekend.  Andrew's parents met us at a road crossing and took us in to town for a much needed shower, laundry, a few huge meals, and soft bed.  They also brought up our next five days worth of food that was pre-bought and packaged in TN.

The first ten days have been awesome!  The first few days, finishing up Shenandoah, was literally a walk in the park.  Shenandoah is like a dirt highway, nicely graded and complete with a passing lane.  We completed that section sooner than we thought.  In fact, when it was time to re-supply, we were fifteen miles ahead of where we thought we'd be, but by our next re-supply time (coming up this weekend) we are going to be almost fifteen miles behind where we thought we'd be.  Oh well!  

We were in the fog our entire first day on the trail.  It rained a little that night once we had gotten to the shelter, but we still enjoyed a campfire with two MI teachers on spring break.  The second day on the trail it was clear but super windy.  We were glad that we brought all the clothes we had because the daytime highs were around fifty and the lows dropped into the lower thirties.  One night it was definitely in the upper twenties because the soil was icy on the trail that morning. Glad it wasn't 80 degrees though like it was in TN the week before!  One thing that we didn't expect though was to get sunburned!  We were pretty exposed to the sun being on the ridges and the trees have no leaves to shade us yet.  My ears actually blistered!  Since Shenandoah we have been rained on a couple of times but nothing major.  As far as wildlife goes, we saw one coyote in the park, four whitetail deer just outside the park, and a turtle.  We have heard owls hooting at night and turkeys gobbling in the mornings.

After cooking our first dinner and breakfast, we realized that we didn't have as much fuel as we'd thought.  Oops!  So, we decided to hitch a ride into town mid-week and pick some extra up along with some sunscreen.  To our surprise Front Royal didn't have any butane fuel for our cook stove!  We did pick up some sterno cans to give that a try if we got desperate.  Luckily a friendly hiker gave us some spare fuel that she had.

Well, I know there's probably a lot more to be said, but I can't think of it right now.  It feels really great to be back on the trail again.  Walking everyday is great for the body, mind, and soul!

Here's a few pictures we took during the first week.  I tried really hard to upload more last weekend in town but was unsuccessful, so this is it for now.
 Foggy days

Great views!  Ha!

The second day was sunny and beautiful, but not as easy on the feet.
Views to the west of the Shenandoah Valley.
This was the shelter we stayed at on the second night.  It is known for the "kissing trees" like the ones below.  We actually saw a bunch of these before we got to the shelter.
The piped spring at the shelter.  We have a great water filter this time.  In 2008 our dreaded daily chore was filtering water by pumping it.  Now we have a gravity flow system where the only work involved is getting to the water source which is sometimes a half mile straight down the ridge from the shelter or campsite.
Day 3 with more great weather.
Andrew was using his bandana to shade his neck from the sun (too late unfortunately, it was already burned).
I just love seeing stuff like this...a tree that has grown right up from the rock.
Our first bit of trail magic...clean, filtered water with a friendly black bear welcoming us! :)  For those that don't know what trail magic is, its when some extremely kind citizen goes out of their way to surprise hikers with goodies that you don't get on the trail.  We have come across coolers of sodas and juice, homemade cookies and whoopie-pies, and fresh vegetables!  And the generous people that leave this trail magic are called trail angels.
The first really nice shelter that we came across.  This was just on the other side of Front Royal.  We met Slow Barbara here  She gave us an extra can of fuel that night that someone else had given her because they knew she couldn't get fuel for another 50 miles.  It was completely extra to her so we gladly excepted and ate a hot dinner!
First patio furniture we have ever seen at a shelter!
Much enjoyed!
First daffodils that we had seen in bloom on the trail so far.
The icing on the cake....a solar shower!  A pipe coming from the spring feeds it.  The shower head had been removed for the winter and was not in place yet for the season, so no shower for us!