Flooded Walk Along The Appalachian Trail

11 June 2021

12 miles / 2,022 ft ascent / 4 hours 9 minutes moving time

I recently set out on a solo walk from Harpers Ferry to Keys Gap and return, via the Appalachian Trail that goes up Loudon Heights.

It’s the same walk I’ve done many times before, including once last year at the very start of the pandemic and again in December all the way to David Lesser shelter and return.

This time, I knew the forecast was for rain all day, but I didn’t anticipate what I was going to see out on the trail.

The entire trail, from the moment I stepped off 340 all the way to Keys Gap was under inches of water. It was flowing up, down and across the Appalachian Trail. Incredible!

This video is a compilation of clips I took on my phone throughout the day and it gives a sense of just how much water was out there:

Leaving home and the last time I was dry on the walk! Within 15 minutes I was soaked through and remained that way until I was back home that night.
Thick cloud and heavy rain were the order of the day as I crossed the Shenandoah river on the 340 sidewalk.
This river is normally a tiny stream but was already much higher early in the day. This river was so swollen on the way home that I couldn’t safely cross it (see the last photo).
The Appalachian Trail was flowing with water for almost the whole 6 miles from Harpers Ferry to Keys Gap. It was like a cold rainy version of the swamp hike Lex and I did in Florida a few years ago.
The pylons half way along the ridge to Keys Gap, the only break in the treeline.
A little bit of shelter by the notice board at Keys Gap. Blocked enough of the rain that I could eat my sandwich without it getting soggy.
At times the water was running straight down the hillside , right across the trail.
Lower down the rain eased so I could take the phone out of the plastic bag hence why the photos improved 😉
Normally a dry river bed!
The final river crossing near the end of the trail before it hits 340. It felt just out of my comfort zone. I waited for 10 minutes or so, scheming a way to get across but ultimately decided not to take that risk. My risk tolerance has dropped dramatically since having kids and I felt it was just wasn’t worth taking the chance. 10 years ago and I’m sure I would have done it!

2 thoughts on “Flooded Walk Along The Appalachian Trail

  1. Pingback: Harpers Ferry to Raven Rocks Long Walk | Ben Collins Outdoors


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