Opportunities for long hikes have been rather limited this year, since our longest blocks of childcare since March have been about 6 hours. But for Christmas, we have the grandparents visiting and staying with us. So that meant we had a full day to go hiking.
We decided to do a return hike to Keys Gap and back, around 12 miles. I’d done the walk earlier this year in March.
It was 28 Farenheit when we left the house at 8am. Chilly! We had a flask of tea, a packed lunch and smiles on our faces.
We covered the ground to Keys Gap easily. First up was the junction, after 53 minutes, much slower than usual. We turned right at the junction, headed south on the AT.
Following the junction comes the Harpers Ferry National Park border sign, then the WV/Va State Line sign, then 4 mile camp and then the pylon clearing on the ridge, which offers great views to the valleys and mountains to the East and West.
It was cold on top of the ridge. The sun was anemic and the cold wind kept us moving along.
When we reached Keys Gap, looking at the AT map showing the next stage, Lex turned to me and said “Why don’t we keep going?”
“Yes, why not!”
We set a new goal of reaching David Lesser memorial hut, 3 miles further on, which would add 6 miles to our day.
Would my knees my survive?
The trail was less rocky and gradually rose from Keys Gap. An hour later and the sign popped up to tell us we’d arrived.
The shelter was fantastic. Well built. Clean, spacious, with a huge deck and view out the front. Certainly on the list for future adventures.
We stopped for lunch and a cup of tea. This marked the halfway point of our hike.
After our brief repast, we turned North on the A.T., towards home.
The afternoon light through the bare trees, with snow on the ground, was magical.
Crossing US 340 bridge in the evening light. We reached home just before dusk fell.
It was a wonderful day out with Lex!
It was a 19 mile hike, with 2,800ft height gain.