AT Day 55 – Harpers Ferry

Appalachian Trail Tips

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9th June

8.8 miles

Bushcamp (1015) to Harpers Ferry (1023.8)

It was a short couple of hours hiking into the ceremonial halfway point of the Appalachian Trail, the town of Harpers Ferry. 

I was in good spirits as I set off early in the morning. It would be fair to say that the constant rain of recent weeks was not allowing my mood to stay as positive as it should be. Bad weather certainly does affect mood, some people worse than others. The best evidence of this could be sourced from statistical information.

More than 50% of thru hikers have quit the trail already. This is normal. The reasons for quitting varies from illness and injury, running out of money, not liking hiking or the weather or missing family and friends. These are the most common reasons for quitting a hike like this.

I used to think that mental strength was important for long distance, now I think it is an appreciation for the outdoors that keeps people on the trail. The love of being in a tent rather than a hotel. 

I hiked about a mile to a main highway and took a detour to a gas station for a large coffee. The caffeine spurred me on to Harpers Ferry a couple of miles away on a rocky trail. Some people have commented that West Virginia is the rockiest of all the states the AT passes.

Despite being only a few miles in length it is perpetually rocky. Others say this is nothing compared to Pennsylvania which is known by hikers as Rocksylvania.

Harpers Ferry is an expensive town. I made plans to take a train to Washington DC to be a tourist for a few days and organised packages. New shoes, a new camera and a package of chocolate cookies from New Zealand, Thanks Ross.

I dropped into the Appalachian Trail headquarters which is based here. I was northbound thru hiker 698 for the year. I was thru hiker 1838 when I started the trail, according to the ranger station at Amacalola Falls near the start of the trail. 

Tomorrow I’m off to see the White House.

Next : Day 56-58 – Appalachian Trail to Washington DC

All the best information on the Appalachian Trail:
Complete Guide to the Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail Gear List
Appalachian Trail Gear Review

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  1. Congratulations on making it halfway already! You are a fast hiker. Love all the pictures!

    This year’s heavy Sierra snowfall and high rivers have destroyed an important bridge in Upper Paradise Valley on the Rae Lakes Loop, so unless they can rebuild it in six weeks, my hiking partner and I will have to find another hike for this year. No way to cross that part of the South Fork of the Kings River without it. My husband is having a health issue, and important decisions for his care have to be made soon. So I have almost decided that a trip to CA is not in the cards for me this summer. I love being a wife and mom, but I have to admit I am so envious of those of you who are out there getting to truly do what you love. Hopefully my time will come soon! Until then, I am continuing to thoroughly enjoy your adventure blog posts and all of your beautiful pictures.

    1. The high snow in California is certainly making hiking very tough this year. I’m wishing the best for you and your husband so you can get outside hiking.

  2. You can tell your an experienced and focused thru when you can pass 1100 folks. Sounds like a grand way to celebrate the half way point. I too appreciate your commentary and photos. Thanks for taking us along.

    1. Oh yeah, a little bit of antipodean magic in every bite. I think they would be a big hit in North America but I can’t find them anywhere.

  3. Off you go now. What a grand walk. It really seems easy with so many little towns every few miles. Of coarse the rain might be a hindrance …………………

    1. Logistically this trail is very easy with so many places to resupply and get water, however, this is not an easy hike. So far I would say this is the most difficult of the 3 thru hikes that I’ve done. And yes, the constant rain makes life a little miserable at times,

    1. Thanks Anne, Harpers Ferry is the ceremonial halfway point. I’ll be at the actual halfway point on the trail in about another two days of hiking. I’ll celebrate by eating half a gallon of ice cream, that’s a tradition I like…

  4. Congrats, on the half way mark. I am enjoying your photos and narrative. Thank-you Brad for taking us along your journey.

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