Yesterday I tagged along on yet another Mountain Club of Maryland hike. However, this hike was led by the dubious duo of Karen and Ron so you know there is going to be a story. The hike description said, "Be a fool and hike 15 miles on this scenic section of the Massanuttens." The key word in this description is "fool" as clearly the joke was on me.
As you can see from a previous post in January, I hiked this same trail with Patty and Dave and I knew from that experience that the elevation gain should be around 2000 feet. I figured Ron would add some mileage at the top of the ridge so the day shouldn't be that stressful....I should learn to ask more questions.
So, we start out at 7AM, we visit Karen's favorite diner, Cindy Dee's in Sandy Hook Maryland. Cindy Dee's is sort of a greasy spoon, with emphasis on greasy, but I was grateful for the breakfast stop. I innocently order a cheese omelet. Karen politely warns me that Cindy Dee's isn't the kind of place that uses real cheese, but I forge ahead with my order anyway. When I get my omelet I notice that much of the eggs weren't cooked but I figured the preservatives in the Velveeta would kill any wayward bacteria.
We get to the trailhead to meet up with Ron who has brought several hiking victims with him from some cabin they had rented. Ron makes some cursory statements about the hike that seemed somewhat vague, I don't listen very closely. We begin the ascent to Buzzard Rocks which went smoothly until I feel a warming sensation all over my body, I figure an early onset of menopause. The sensation gets worse and I start to clutch my aching stomach as I hike. By the time I get to the ridge I'm not feeling too well. Karen restates that she had warned me about the omelet order. It was at the crest that Ron then reveals that we are going to hike back down the mountain on the other side and then hike back up on the Sherman Gap trail,, resulting in double the elevation gain I though we were going to hike, his plan was to hike this mountain twice. At that point I become painfully aware of the potential ramifications of my situation.
Needless to say, my normally spunky hiking pace was seriously diminished. I did appreciate the lunch stop near the composting toilet at the Elizabeth Furnace trailhead though. Ron's cabin friends eventually caught on that this was going to be a severe death march, of which Karen and Ron are famous. Total distance was probably in the 15-16 mile range, elevation change was 3874 feet by a rough guesstimate.
On the way home we ate at John's My Pappy's Place in West Virginia, figuring that I may not survive two meals in one day at Cindy Dee's. Pappy's is on the West Virginia side of Route 340. It's clean, service is friendly and quick and the prices are cheaper than Cindy Dee's. Karen promises me that we will be having breakfast at Pappy's from now on.