Appalachian Trail in WV - Weverton to VA-7 - April 21-22, 2007

Trip theme: "Where did all these people come from?"


Willie, Dan and Mark getting ready to leave Weverton This was an official Wilmington Trail Club backpacking trip on April 21-22, 2007 along the AT from Weverton to VA-7. I chose this section because it was a missing piece in my near term goal to complete the AT from the southern end of Shenandoah to the Hudson river. Jim decided that we would not be covering this section anymore on a Saturday hike so I had to pick it up as a backpack. This section starts in Maryland, passes through West Virginia, and ends up in Virginia. I must be getting a reputation, as once again I only had one person sign up, Dan and his dog (Shotgun Willie).

The weather had been a little iffy for awhile but when the weekend rolled around it was bluebird skies and comfortable temperatures. A recipe for overcrowding on the AT. The trail out of Weverton leaves a little something to be desired. Most of it is along the C&O canal tow path which is essentially now a gravel bike path. We made short work out of the canal and arrived in Harper's Ferry. There were a few people milling about but it was weird seeing the place so deserted. I guess I'm used to the mad house that normally ensues on the weekends. We choose not to stop at the ATC headquarters. We passed a number of people on the climb up the ridge and that would be an omen for the shelter to come. Willie was happily doing the dog thing whilst carrying his food, water and dog bowl. He seemed to get tuckered out after awhile and Dan had to relieve him of his pack. Not even giving a word of thanks, Willie then takes off rejuvenated down the trail. An interesting point to this trip was the amount of dogs that we encountered on the trail. I usually see very few, but this must have been take your dog hiking weekend because we passed at least a dozen other dogs. So we get to the David Lesser shelter and the place is packed. Boy Scouts had completely taken over the shelter (how rude), a different set of scouts had completely taken over all of the tent sites, and two more guys had completely taken over the gazebo. Even more people were scattered around down below the shelter. What a zoo. The spring is all the way down at the bottom of the hill and was likewise infested with people. Once full on water we set about setting up our tents. Dan is pulling out his tent when he realizes that he has made a critical mistake. His intention was to bring the tent but leave the rain fly behind. Unfortunately he did the opposite and brought the rain fly while leaving the tent behind. No problem though, we had talked on the trail about using a tarp, now was his chance to try it out. We decided to go back to the gazebo to cook dinner as it was the least crowded of our options. For some reason the two guys there had spread out all of their stuff everywhere leaving us not very much room to work with. We found out later that the slept in the gazebo as well. Dan provided me with an excellent dinner idea that I had not previously thought of, the dried Barillo tortellini's. He had more than enough to share and I was impressed with how well they cooked and tasted in the field. I'll definitely be carrying this on future trips. Willie on the other hand ate dog food and even though he didn't offer to share, I didn't feel slighted. The guys in the gazebo were busy checking sports scores on their Blackberries when we went to bed. Christy had gone down to VA Tech that weekend to see the memorials so I checked my phone to see if she had called to tell me she had arrived safely, but instead I found several messages from work. I called them back and told them that unless I could help them from inside my tent that they were on their own. They declined my assistance.

Morning brought the results of the great rain fly only experiment. As you can see in the picture, the setup is quite awkward. Final verdict was that it wasn't that bad but the tent would have been much better. Willie didn't seem to mind though. We beat feet the heck out of there before the scouts were even stirring in their tents. Willie seemed to have new found energy today and was pretty frisky the whole way down the trail. Today we finally got to see a couple of scenic vistas, which I am of course all about. The main attraction on this section of trail is Crescent rock. I kept thinking we had someone missed it when we literally ran right into it. It's a very nice outcropping of rocks with a nice view of the Shenandoah valley. While we were sitting there a couple of locals came to top rope on the rocks. I looked at their rope and it was a nylon rope from Walmart. I suggested that they might want to get something a little more suitable but they said they were going to double the ropes up and not to worry. Yikes. The rocks are only a few miles from VA-7 but I was still surprised at the number of people heading up to them given the steepness of the trail. Good for them. Eventually we popped out on VA-7 and I tied another section of AT together. Now I just have to pick up a 12 mile section in Shenandoah and the 18 miles of Harriman SP in NY to complete my near time goal.
Taking a break, doing the dog thing at Harpers Ferry
I imagine by mid-day Harpers Ferry was quite a bit more crowded than it was now
Egads! We've been invaded by Boy scouts
Is there suppose to be more to this tent?
You know you're living in luxury when the shelter has a porch swing at its separate gazebo
Here's what it looks like when you forget to bring your tent
Willie keeps an eye on the scouts
Not too many views but we found this one
This is the main attraction at Crescent rock
Safely back at VA-7. Willie finally gives us a frontal shot


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