April 7th

 Week two....great week overall.  The terrain has been pretty mellow.  The one "difficult" section, the roller coaster, was only 500-600 foot gains and losses, but consecutively for 13 miles.  When we got to a shelter one evening in the middle of the roller coaster an entry in the log book said, "Georgia called....they want their trail back!"  We thought that was hilarious because GA was exactly that, up and down, up and down, but in 1,000 to 1,500 feet (and occasionally even more) gains and losses.  So really, this section was pretty easy by AT standards.  The weather has been great.  Sunshine, little wind, cool nights, and only one night of rain which was pretty nice to listen to.  There are still no leaves on the trees on the ridges which allows for a lot more views.  There are a few flowering trees in bloom right now that are absolutely beautiful!  Red buds, dogwoods, and some other tree that has only white blossoms all over it.

My new boots are working great for me, no new blisters and so much lighter.  They say a pound on your feet affects you like six pounds on your back.  Since we are mainly going for endurance training here we have decided to minimize extra weight (we were carrying a little extra in the beginning for mountaineering training).

As soon as we left Shenandoah the trail has been a lot more raw, with logs to step over or walk around, really rocky and rooty sections, and lots more short, steep sections.  Some days you feel like you are looking down the entire day because you must watch your feet and where you're stepping.  That is what we are use to and remember from 2008, so its been great to be back on the "real" trail again.  However, this area is a lot more populated than what we did back in 2008 in GA, NC, TN, southern VA, and ME.  There are a lot more road crossings and we are closer to houses and farms.  We actually walked through an AT easement dividing two houses in a neighborhood the other day.  We popped right out of the woods and into a neighborhood, between two houses, into a drainage gully and across a footbridge over the interstate.  Crazy!  And on the other hand, we have walked through some really cool historical areas.  The ridge we traversed over the last few days was where many of the soldiers from the Civil War gathered and even fought. The rock walls were constructed for taking cover while fighting.  It's an amazing feeling walking the same grounds as many of our fellow Americans once did, not that long, but for a much different reason. 

We just had another wonderful, re-fueling 24 hours with Andrew's parents!  Lots of good food, fresh clean clothes, and a great nights sleep!  We got our next four days of food and mailed packaged boxes to a couple of places in PA for re-supply.  In a couple of days we should be in Pennsylvania!  We have heard so much about PA rocky trail.  People go on and on about how tedious and time consuming some sections can be.  That shouldn't start for another week though, about 10 miles south of Duncannon we hear. 

Gorgeous Virginia bluebells lined the trail in short sections.
Ha ha ha ha!

Rocky trail
Cool feather we found...turkey we think.
The double white blaze means a change of direction in the trail.
WV border!

A mossy heart around the rocks!
Very cool shelter!  Hand hewn logs with dove-tail notches and a great picnic pavilion with a swing.

We called the ridge coming through the 16 miles of WV red bud ridge.  They lined the trail almost the entire way!

Crossing the Shenandoah River

Walking into Harpers Ferry, WV.
Trail going through historic downtown Harpers Ferry, with white blazes on the lamp posts.

Crossing the Potomac River which was the WV/MD state line.
Looking back at Harpers Ferry
Beautiful Luna moth
Walking between the houses...see the white blaze on the tree.
Walking across the interstate