I finally got off my duff yesterday, Saturday, and put on some real mileage, 23 miles to be exact. The weather was exactly right for a long haul hike, clear and 33 degrees F. This temperature is ideal because my water tube doesn't freeze and I don't sweat, consequently I can go long distances without relying on more than a couple of liters of water. Yesterday I only drank 1 liter.
I started out at 9AM at the base of Weverton Cliffs near Harpers Ferry and enjoyed the switchbacks on the way up. Once I was at the overlook I realized I didn't need to wear my extra pants, my turtleneck and my jacket, leaving me in my light sweater. I wanted to keep these items with me because you can't count on the temperature in winter, it can drop precipitously in just a few minutes. This proved to be a PITA because, for once, I didn't forget anything and manage to pack a 1/2 pound of trail mix, my GPS, my phone and, get this, 11 packs of goop. I didn't realize I had 11 packs until I was hiking, I guess I just kept throwing them in my daypack so I would have enough.
This proved to be my one glitch on the hike because my pack ended up being rather heavy and it wore out my shoulders near the end. Otherwise I had no issues, I was in hiking zen mode. I sailed into Gathland state park, I was impressed on how many people were on the trail. Yes, I think Baltimore does deserve the title "Fittest City" from the number of people out that I saw yesterday, even in the cold weather. There was a well organized group of Korean hikers and lots of couples with hiker dogs. I saw many shepherds,huskies and one retriever, it was perfect dog weather.
I seemed to have angered seriously one pileated woodpecker who took issue with me up at Lambs Knoll. I guess I was in his territory. That was the first time I had ever seen one of them, they are huge and very noisy, and have a beautiful red crest. I also ran into a hunter that seemed to be confused about the rules about not hunting on the Appalachian Trail, as he had chosen a tree on the trail to hide behind with his two guns in his search for bambi. After I got done with him he was very clear about where he could and could not hunt, I don't think he wants to have that discussion twice.
I was very limited with hikeable hours, sundown was at 5PM, I was well prepared to use my headlamp to get off the trail but didn't need it, I beat sundown by 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because I just couldn't gamble on taking a break for even a few minutes.