October 19, 2013
Pine Knob Shelter to Crampton Gap Shelter…then to Dirigo & Python’s basement in WVA…but I am getting ahead of myself…
From my sleeping bag it seemed like dawn was going to happen at any moment. The forest was actually light enough to see through the trees. V. had just returned to the shelter from an early jaunt out to the privy…not that you need to know that…but it is partially why I was, at that moment, contemplating whether it was time to get up. Normally, I am not that worried about wake up time, but today was going to be a long day for me. 13 miles to Crampton Gap.
I remained semi conscious in my bag for another half hour before making the executive decision to get up and moving. V. was not happy. Me…well I was pretty stoked…but I am a morning person! 😉 It was a good thing we started early and made breakfast by the glow of our headlamps, because we were just in time to meet Python at the Rt40/I70 AT parking lot…SLACKPACKING today!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
After emptying out our packs into Python’s car and receiving extra sweet good mornings in the form of oranges, bananas, other yummies and happy hound greetings from Cullowee we started down the trail to Washington Monument State Park. Python & Culloweee hiked along for a while but turned around with the promise of meeting us at Reno Monument Road.
It was a grey day and quite chilly! We got a move on, mostly to warm up, I think, and made it to the Washington Monument in about an hour. This was Google’s first time to the monument and she was impressed! The view was amazing, and so clear I could see both Boonesboro and Hagerstown in the distance.
Whew chilly! Moved on through the park, envious of a roaring fire we saw lit in one of the pavilions, made our way down the mountain and exited the woods near Dahlgren Chapel on old Rt40 near South Mountain Inn. This is a beautiful spot and the chapel is picture perfect! The sun was shining enough to light up a few of the stained glass windows in the chapel. Just gorgeous.
We then made a snack stop at Dahlgren campground, then continued to Reno Monument Rd to meet up with Python. She had cookies and other goodies for us! We were now almost half way through our mileage for the day…but still had the hardest terrain ahead of us.
Leaving Reno Monument Road the trail is just wonderful walking until you pass the Rocky Run Shelter. Right after the shelter we began to climb Lambs Knoll. I can’t even tell you how many times I thanked Python for allowing us to slackpack this section of trail!!! That is a long climb! But climb we did. Up, up, up and then down to the overlook at White Rocks. At this point, I would have benefited from taking a longer break…but we needed to get to Crampton Gap shelter … and you know how it is if you get to a shelter late… Anyway, to keep myself making forward progress I began to fantasize that Python would have all of our stuff already at the shelter when we got there, then I thought, hey, while I am at it, let’s pretend they also bought us a pizza for dinner. 😉
A couple of more miles and we spotted Python and Dirigo holding some our stuff….WHAAAAAAAAAAAT????? (I am channeling the guy in the “ticket oak” commercial here) My fantasies were coming true!!! Well, turns out they had V. and Boomerang’s stuff, so we sent them ahead to the shelter to scope out a spot…either in the shelter or tenting. Google & I headed down to the parking lot to get our stuff from the car. On our way back up the mountain, Python gets a text from Boomerang…”No spots in the shelter or camping”.
After a moment of processing time, Dirigo heads up to assess the situation. Get this, three hammockers have taken over the shelter and are telling people the shelter is full, a large group of boy scouts are tenting, a large group of junior military (teenagers) are camping anywhere and everywhere, including on the trail. oh god, and more people kept hiking in. Then a dog started howling. This was a mess, a real MoshPit of weekend campers who had just hiked in from the parking lot. oh god. oh god. oh god. Maintain.
We headed back to the parking lot to think up a plan B. Dirigo went looking for V. and Boomerang. Boomerang makes it down to the parking lot on her own and states, “V. is done, like done, done.” Python replied, “Oh she has trail tourettes?” 😮 So, Dirigo found V. coming up over the hill from the shelter holding two bags with her backpacking gear. According to Dirigo it was a sight to see…and now V. had her trail name…Bag Lady! Poor girl! 🙂 🙂 She had a tough day.
We decide to camp in Python and Dirigo’s basement for the night…and oh luck of luck…we get pizza! And it rains, bwahahahahaaaaaa, and we were high and dry! Fantasy complete!