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Kaptainkriz

West Virginia AT Complete!

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After completing the Maryland portion of the Appalachian Trail, I decided to go ahead and finish off West Virginia. I thought I was going to do it over three days, staying at the David Lesser Shelter and then further South at one of the campsites on the way to Snickers Gap. I got a very late start on Saturday, starting the hike after a great dinner at Harpers Ferry. I left at 6:15 PM from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It was dank and misty from the edge of Hurricane Mathew that had been pushing in from the South. It was dusk by the time I crossed the bridge, and spooky dark and misty throughout the hike to David Lesser. My Zebralight headlamp provided a good enough amount of light on the high end of its lowest setting. I could hardly see through the reflective fog and the rocks were slippery making the going very slow. It was 10:30PM by the time I reached the shelter. Fortunately there was room inside for me to flop down, which I did on my mattress with bag tossed on top. I had underestimated the distance of this section (misread the guide)…at almost 9 miles, I should have known it would be a long night hike. I took a quick trip down to the spring the next morning (0.25 miles) to get water. The spring was very good and easy to get water from. There are tent sites a short ways down the hill from the shelter and the shelter has a cool pavilion to cook at with a swing. The hike south from the shelter had a couple nice views. I decided to visit the Blackburn Trail Center on the way south and it was a steep rock staircase down 0.2 miles to get there. The center is very nice, has picnic tables, water, privy, shower, and a hiker cabin. There is also a pay telephone (for those that use them these days) and an outlet to charge your electronics. The caretaker was not around when I stopped by…it was very quiet…a great place to eat lunch. 
I had planned on stopping near the beginning of the roller coaster, but could not find a camp I liked near water…so I pressed on, and on, and on, and I finally just decided to finish the section out to VA7 where my car was parked in the commuter parking lot (very good parking). I ate dinner at the Horseshoe Curve Restaurant, which was a real throwback and a nice change of pace. The burgers were great. All in all, I hiked 20.3 miles in 24 hours (and slept 8 hours). I’ve never hiked that long a leg before and my feet were sore from the rocks. That being said, I want to keep going.

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