Day 1: May 17, 2023 Harpers Ferry to White Rock Outlook Elevation Profile +2372’ -985.1 15.1 Miles; Total 15.1

After a wonderful night of sleep, with the train whistling in the background, it is time to get this show on the road. I packed up my worldly possessions and headed up to the ATC to pickup my Permit/Tag. The nice lady working at the Front Desk was having some computer issues, so I patiently waited.

Purple Tag in Hand – AT Class of 2023

Once all the kinks were sorted out, I was given my Purple Tag- Color for the AT Class of 2023. She ushered me outside to take the required mugshot, just in case they have to hunt me down. Then Lois had me read the back of the tag regarding all the Leave No Trace (LNT) protocols. She warned me of the weather that would cause me strife when I get to Vermont, which is more than 500 miles north. I guess she wants me to think about it all the way there. I signed the back of my now, printed mugshot with all my credentials. Who I am, where I live, what are my intentions. Very formal. After that, she offered me a Mandarin, never turn down fresh fruit and I was on my way!

Beautiful Gardens in Harpers Ferry

I talked with Gail from Town’s Inn. She’s a sweet lady who cares for all the hikers that come through this Hostel. She was a fellow hiker herself and she loves spending time catching up and hearing stories of trail talk. She said a little blessing over me and I hit the trail at 11am. A bit late but that was expected as the ATC doesn’t open till late morning.

Me & Gail at Town’s Inn

I found my way to the trail from town, headed across the Potomac River with a bunch of other day-hikers and bicyclists. Once on the dirt pathway, I saw some guys my age walking south towards town. The one gentleman looked me over, and said matter of factly, “Keep it up and you’ll never get old!” Is that the secret to life and longevity? I’m gonna believe him and keep hiking.

Bridge Crossing Potomac River

Noon crept up quickly and the salad I had last night wasn’t carrying me through. Luckily there was a bakery in town and I grabbed a BLT to go. I chowed down right before the climb started. Good plan if I say so myself. I saw all sorts of critters along the way from a baby bunny, 6 box turtles, big black non-venomous snake and tons of woodpeckers, red cardinals and other birds that I didn’t recognize.

Flip-Flop Sista’s

As I climbed my first hill, I was grateful that today was relatively an easy day. The grade was fairly straightforward and nothing too terribly taxing. Well at least not yet. I made it to the Ridgeline and met my first thru-hiker who also was Flip-Flopping. Her trail name is Serotonin because she doesn’t produce normal amounts of it in her real life, but on the trail, she is in her happy place. Perfect name. A few minutes later, another Flip-Flopper showed up that I briefly ran into in town. Her trail name is Won’t Get Up-Will which is a funny story. She never wants to get up in the morning and hiked with her Dad in her youth, and now as an adult, she still doesn’t want to get up. She’s hiked the AT a handful of times, another story for another day, but the first time she made it all the way from Georgia to Mt. Katadrin, they added Will to the end. Being we all started today, we are now sisters of the trail. The first people you meet on Day One are very special indeed.

Tree-lined Appalachian Trail

I didn’t see any other thru-hikers today but lots of day hikers, and locals who walk or run the trail often. The AT is so close to many towns that this is common place. I talked to plenty of people, and shared my blog with them. Each time I tell them I’m blogging and the name of it, it spurs lots of conversation. I think that’s the point!

Lots of Train Crossings

I didn’t quite make it as far as I hoped for today. But starting just a bit before noon, cut my day in half. But I managed to find a cozy spot on a bluff overlooking Maryland. There’s a bunch of farmlands below and wide open spaces without the huge trees that I am encompassed with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the trees. It’s shady and keeps the sun from beating down on me. The forecast is looking good for the upcoming week or two, so I’m Cowboy Camping. Just me and nature. No tent, and no overcrowded shelter for miles. I’m sure I’ll be blessed with a gazillion stars tonight. Nothing but me, the Lord and a big bush of Poison Oak. Well, you can’t have it all.

Me & My Feet All Alone

4 thoughts on “Day 1: May 17, 2023 Harpers Ferry to White Rock Outlook Elevation Profile +2372’ -985.1 15.1 Miles; Total 15.1

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