There and Back Again!

I just got back this afternoon from spending 3 days on the trail with the guys and it was great! They met me with 4 other hikers they knew at the station in Harper’s Ferry WV and then to dinner.  Bad Hummus, Todie Bear, Yedi and I can’t remember the other the last hiker’s trail name.

I left the next morning because they had to wait until 9:00 for the ATC to open. That would give me a head-start on them. Started out nice, crossed a river and hit the woods. Met a hiker about 3 miles out and asked him to report to them how far ahead I was. I hiked a few more miles and met a couple who stopped to chat. They asked if this was still W. Va. and I corrected them that this was Maryland. Unfortunately, they had just passed a sign entering W. Va. Anyway, 6 miles southbound from Harper’s Ferry, I realized I had read the map wrong! Luckily, I had phone coverage AND Brandon had his phone on. He said no problem, they would wait at the first shelter 7.5 miles down the trail in the right direction. There we spend the night with the first hiker I met southbound. His name is Strides. I wish he had told me I was going the wrong way.

I had to get that off my chest and now I know you want to know about Roundhouse and Trill. They are doing Great! Their health is excellent. Both have lost about 25 pounds. Their gear is holding up well and their spirits are soaring. They are having the time of their life. They love the trail, the hikers and all the communities and helpers along the way.

Here is a typical day if there is one. They are usually late risers and don’t like shelters facing east and the morning sun. They get up, pack up, hit the privy and brush their teeth (most mornings). Breakfast is a couple of Little Debbie apple pies and a full-purpose vitamin and they hit the trail, maybe with an idea of how far, maybe not. After a few hours, it’s time for lunch at a nice view or maybe a shelter. Lunch is 2 flour tortillas filled with a huge glob of peanut butter and a squirt of honey. EACH! Then they have some trail mix, a candy bar and a slim jim. EACH! Then it’s nap time. They took it easy on this old man but they said they usually roll into the shelter 30 minutes either side of dark. We hit them about 6:00 – 7:00.

At the shelter they have a routine. One goes to the spring for their water, the other sets up the pads and sleeping bags, starts getting ready to cook and sets the mouse traps. They are up to 32 confirmed kills but were 0-for-2 my nights. Dinner is cooked in one shared pot consisting of: 2 Knorr noodle envelopes. Chicken teriyaki being the favorite, 2 ramen noodle packs, 1 pack of tuna or chicken, Sweet and Spicy tuna is the best, and finally a pack of instant mashed potatoes to soak up the extra water. They call it gruel and it is actually pretty good and very good fuel. They sit around and share stories with other hikers at the shelter or read and journal.

They are usually hiking together and playing 20 questions or making Roundhouse identify plants which he is very good at. Sometimes they get a song in their heads and sing until the other one can’t get it out of his. They do want they want, when they want with as few hard plans as possible. They checked in at the A.T. Conservancy and there are only 35 hikers ahead of them so they are making great time.

We ended the week at the PA state line where a very nice couple, “The Rosesniffers”picked us up that I had contacted before I left. They took us to an AYCE buffet to fill up and then to their house to sleep dry and inside and finally get a shower. Bill and I took off at 6:00 a.m. to catch my train to D.C. while the boys slept in and got pancakes and french toast later.

It was a great experience and a wonderful time with the hikers. Beautiful scenery and weather. I can now picture where they are and what they are doing and hopefully you can too. One last thing, Roundhouse was ahead of us and we passed a house that had a register set up with a sign to please sign in. We checked it and sure enough, Roundhouse had signed “Roundhouse, Trill and +12″. I guess I have a trail name ……. or number.

Look for pictures in a couple of days