In Washington I was wondering how one will transition from being there at 4h and back on the trail by 6h – it sounds unlikely.
Not really. Before we got onto the train we changed from our town clothes into our hiking gear. The big difference between town clothes and hiking clothes is footwear (flip – flops for town wear). The rest is just our second set of hiking clothes (though we both like to believe our town clothes make us look a bit more attractive, it’s not really true it is just our colour preference).
Arriving at Harpers Ferry we stepped off the train, walked 50m down the road and was on the trail – we just kept going and did the required 10km to get to a campsite with loads of day light to spare. The key was that we didn’t first go and get a last cold drink/ice cream, just started walking. Not that Trevor was tempted for more ice cream, he had THREE scoops of Haegen Daz before we left Washington!
We struggled a bit today, 3 days of eating and not hiking made us lazy. I hope we will be back in shape in a day or two.
It was an interesting day (we are now in Maryland) as the trail intersected with the Civil War Trail (for cars) in a few places so we got to see a few memorials.
There was an important battle at Crampton gap in 1862. George Townsend, a very successful war correspondent, bought the land in 1887, built a stone house to live in and a memorial to war correspondence (a bit of self glorification as he was the most important one!)
We also saw the Washington memorial, which people from the area built after the War of Independence. It is a beautiful memorial which I didn’t take a picture of as it is being worked on at the moment.
Being Sunday the trail was busy with day hikers. We have been told as we walked North people will become more distant and we can already see it, people are more likely to not make eye contact, or if they do to break it quickly. Certainly giving the impression that they are more reserved.
It seems as if every day brings something which stands out. At a point a father and son came walking in the opposite direction to us. When they were about 10m from us the son (+/- 20 yrs I would say) looked at me and said “what’s ur name what’s ur name what’s ur name”….. He was clearly not “normal”. I smiled and said “Jozi”. He then immediately asked Trevor the same question (by now they were close to us and Trevor and I have stopped”. Trevor answered him and said “and what’s your name?”. He didn’t reply, but his dad who was walking behind him with his hand on his shoulder, steering him forward, just looked at us and said “And this is Sam”…and then they were gone.
That man is a good father. He had Sam covered. His eyes spoke so many words in the 40 second interaction we had. Observing how we will respond, quietly signalling a thank-you when we responded as we did, love for his son, and then they were nothing more than a memory to me: but a hard life to live for them.
I will remember the look in Sam and dad’s eyes for a few days to come, with a bit of happiness and a bit of sadness.