25th May 2022
Hike / 23.8 miles / 2,902 ft ascent / 8 hours 52 minutes
Originally I had hoped to get away for a few days hiking or biking, to celebrate finishing a big work project. But I was so exhausted from work and parenting that I couldn’t muster the motivation to plan a multi-day trip. I settled on a long day walk instead.
I left home around 9.45am with plenty of food and water. I wanted to see if I could reach Gathland State Park and return, which I knew would be a long walk.
After walking through Harper Ferry, I had a peaceful hour along the canal. It’s a pretty stretch along the banks of the Potomac River.
I was on the Appalachian Trail for the whole day, so I followed it away from the canal and up Weverton Cliffs. After a snack break at the lookout, I continued onwards, heading north.
Once you’re on top of the ridge, the trail is relatively flat and easy going, so the miles passed easily.
I reached the Ed Garvey shelter around lunchtime and stopped there for lunch. I chatted with a few other hikers who were part way through their long hikes.
The shelter is fantastic, with an upstairs closed-in section, and plenty of camping spots. I will return to stay here overnight someday.
At the shelter I had a choice. Do I turn around and head home, a 17-mile round trip that I did last summer? Or, do I push on to reach Gathland State Park, another 4 further on?
Of course, I chose to continue. I felt good and I was enjoying being out in the woods. I had plenty of food and water with me.
It was more of the same through the woods on the AT north. It’s a nice, quiet section.
I reached Gathland State Park mid-afternoon, and stopped to explore some of the history of this area.
I’ve been to Gathland State Park once before, with Lexi, when we headed north from Gathland to climb Lamb’s Knoll. So the route today closed that gap in my AT coverage.
After another snack, I turned around and headed back south along the AT to Weverton Cliffs.
I didn’t stop at the Ed Garvey shelter on the way home, but I couldn’t resist another stop at the lookout. It’s such a fabulous view!
24 miles along the AT is quite tiring and I was stiff and tired the next day. But being outdoors all day is so good for the soul.
All in all, a great day out. I can’t wait to get back out there!