I must admit I had low expectations for the state of Virginia. After hearing plenty about the “Virginia blues” that plague thru-hikers as they walk through this state that constitutes fully a quarter of the entire Trail I had my hopes set low. I was pleased and surprised to discover how much Virginia had to offer. The historical insights along the trail, the wildlife (especially in Shenandoah National Park), the bounty of wildflowers and wild produce (ramps!)—the Trail was constantly engaging and the countryside beautiful. I had my down moments of physical pain and discouragement, but over all I have delighted in this long stretch of the AT.
Leaving Virginia I walked down into the town of Harper’s Ferry, the mental halfway point of the journey. It felt like a triumph and a fresh challenge: 1,000 miles down, 1,000+ more to go. Not long after crossing the Maryland line the Appalachian rocks made their appearance in the trail bed, a foretaste of what was to come in Pennsylvania. My feet were already feeling tired.
I’ve received a lot of help here at the midway point of my hike: strangers have welcomed me into their homes, friends have hosted me for days on end while I edit video and then joined me for a cold, wet hike to the Pennsylvania line. This is the farthest north I’ve ever been along the eastern seaboard, and every state I enter from here on out will be for the first time. I have two more episodes to post in my video journal before I conclude that project and turn my focus entirely to hiking. It’s been a challenge and a delight to share this experience with others as I go, but I am eager and excited to focus my energies on just the hike from here on out. There will be so much to take in along the way, I know, and I hope that I will have a good story to share after finishing (assuming I do finish!). Thanks for following along in the journey–I look forward to sharing more on the far side of this hike.