On this gloriously soon to be warm morning, I met up with backpacking buddy and fellow dame, Boomerang to carpool to our meeting spot on Route 7 in Bluemont, Virginia. We hadn’t seen each other since the fall AT backpack across Maryland, so it was nice to catch up! I was getting some new AT miles in with the Trail Dames of Maryland (and finishing the infamous roller coaster)!
Dirigo & Python shuttled us dames from Rt. 7, Snicker’s Gap, to the trail head at Rt. 605. Glad they knew where they were going, because I think I might have missed the white blaze with all the snow still on the ground.
We started out climbing…of course! I was cautiously optimistic about this hike as I trudged up the mountain. It has been a slow hiking winter for me and this was a section of the AT famous for its ups and downs. Well, time to get back in shape!
It was exciting to be back out on the trail! Especially with new boots! I retired my old Vasque boots at the end of last yearl, and have now opted for a lighter boot made by Keen. I love how comfortable they have been walking around town, but I am ready to see what they can do under real trail conditions! 🙂
The slushy snow made for slow going at times. I did not have any microspikes, but even dames with those handy devices were having some trouble. Going down the first hill we stopped to shed a layer! Yes, it was getting warm!! The temps were predicted to climb into the high 50s or low 60s today. After our harsh winter this felt amazing!
There were a few stream crossings on this trek before we arrived at the Sam Moore Shelter for lunch. I am not a confident stream crosser…I just do not like them! However, my new boots were incredible! They have such a nice grip on the rocks and soon I was feeling more comfortable with both the boots and rock hopping through streams and the slippery slushy snow! Felt good to trust the boots!
After the first little stream crossing, the trail rises through an area in which there had been a fire last year. I was sorry for the fire, but with the devastation came new breathtaking views. The ridge line was clear and I felt on top of the world!
Then it was down again to cross another creek, then up and down again! Whew!
At this point, Dirigo thought we had perhaps missed the sign to the shelter. With as many dames as were on this hike surely one of us would have noticed it. After coming down another hill, a hill on which I slid down involuntarily, we were relieved to find the sign to the shelter and headed in for a nice break! And let me just pause here to say thank you SOOO MUCH to Dirigo for documenting my butt slide with her camera… Anyway I signed the log book at the shelter and ate my pb&j. Someone had brought snickers! What a treat!
After lunch we knew it was time to head out as we were all getting chilly. So guess which way the trail went…up!
Here we all are headed up the mountain. Thanks to Dirigo for this pic (this time an appropriate use of her camera 😉 )
There was another stream crossing then a big push up a hill to Bear’s Den overlook. The snickers came out again as we found a bit more mojo to get up the last hill!
My new boots and old body did a good job today of navigating the ups and downs on this section of the AT. It was an excellent kick off for the big hiking season. I am definitely looking forward to “real” spring more than ever!