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  1. #1

    Default Anyone been on the MD AT?

    Anyone now what the conditions of the AT shelters are in the MD part? Who about water?
    Hope that I will be able to hike thru just as soon as I retire.

  2. #2

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    While I havent been on the trail since fall, and cant speak to the condition of it, the abundance of rain and snow this year probably means plenty of water sources on the trail.

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    Registered User hikersc1's Avatar
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    The conditions were good last August when I did PenMar-Harpers Ferry. Got water at Little Antitem Creek, Colwell Shelter,Pogo campsite, Washington Monument(sodas) Dahlgren Campground(Showers),Gathland State Park(sodas) & Potomac River

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    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    I hiked that section with my girlfriend back in early November. All water sources that I saw and/or used were flowing just fine. I think they'd be in just as good or better shape now considering the amount of snow that the eastern US has had.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

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    My husband and I are planning on hiking this section in June. Would love any input on the area. It will be our first week long hike, how tough is the terrain? Is 8 miles a day reasonable for beginners? Any thing that we should know that is not in the guides? We are planning on going south from Pen-Mar to Harpers Ferry.
    Thanks for any input!

  6. #6
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emeggke View Post
    My husband and I are planning on hiking this section in June. Would love any input on the area. It will be our first week long hike, how tough is the terrain? Is 8 miles a day reasonable for beginners? Any thing that we should know that is not in the guides? We are planning on going south from Pen-Mar to Harpers Ferry.
    Thanks for any input!
    The section is nice, albeit a bit on the rocky side. But, in all fairness, it's the mountains, so not unexpected. When my girlfriend and I did it in November, we stayed at Devils Racecourse Shelter, Pogo Memorial Campsite, Dahlgrens Backpack Campground and Crampton Gap shelter. We did it in 4.5 days, but took our time and had shorter days to hike in than you will. Don't miss the views from Annapolis rocks. There are campsites there as well.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  7. #7

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    A buddy and I hiked it in 4 days (had to get back to work) in 2002. The first day was like hell getting up from the C&O. We did it in January lucky for us no snow. My wife and I are planning on doing it this year very early in the season. Well be hiking with our pup (her first trip) and were not sure how she is going to camp. Were kinda luck as well that both of us work the normal peoples weekends, so if she has a barking fit no one will be around. I do know that were going to go southbound to avoid that climb.
    Hope that I will be able to hike thru just as soon as I retire.

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    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    You'll still have your fair share of climbing, but it's not too bad at all really. I thought doing that section SOBO was a very nice hike, Dancer and I really enjoyed it. We did that as our annual autumn hike this past year. This autumn, it's going to be Front Royal to Harpers Ferry.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  9. #9
    Saw Man tuswm's Avatar
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    I did VA to I-70 in Feb, all water sources were flowing great. Water is not a problem this time of year. I do mostly winter hiking.

  10. #10

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    Anyone know the snow depths? Pretty much all gone here in Baltimore save for the mountains in parking lots.

  11. #11
    Walking Stick glessed's Avatar
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    If you are going South from Pen Mar, I wouldn't go any further than Raven Rock Shelter on the first day. That's close to 5 miles distance. The climb just South of Pen Mar Park is rocky (large rocks) and short but challenging for your first time out. At the top of the hill make sure that you take the side trail to High Rock. You will enjoy the view. The shelters are all good especially the Ed Garvey Shelter. Also make sure that you take the side trail to Weaverton Cliffs about 2 miles South of the Ed Garvey shelter.
    Hiked from Springer to just North of Hot Springs and the flip flopped to Massachusetts and hiked South until Labor Day in 2010. Plan to continue in 2011.

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    Thanks for the information. We will plan on just the 5 miles the first day then and will watch for the spots you mentioned. We are hoping to thru- hike in 2016 after our youngest is out of school. Till then, hoping to get out at least one week a year on the AT, more often locally.

  13. #13
    Registered User johnnyblisters's Avatar
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    Has anyone hit this section lately? Trying to plan a spring break trip and figured we'd go back to the old stomping grounds. I'm really just looking for a snow report.
    -milkman

    got soul?

  14. #14

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    My plan exactly Johnny, when is your spring break?

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    Just came back from hiking from Cowall Shelter to rt 70 foot Bridge 8.8 miles , the water sorces are fine. the snow is over 2 foot deep and we were walking on top most of the way. we did do some post holing, sinking above our knees. my hiking sticks were some help but they kept going through the deep snow. if you are thinking of overnight, stay at the shelters. we day hiked and kept up a good 2 mile per hour pace but it was tough. had a great time . someone built an igloo at the Pine Knob shelter pretty cool!! there was a few people out probably last weekend but not many other track until you get around Annapolis Rocks. hope this helps feel free to ask me any Questions Bronco

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    Hiked from Harper's Ferry NOBO to I-70. Snow was deeper than we thought it would be, I'd say an average of 8". South by Harper's ferry was less, the Ed Garvey Shelter was great, albeit with a lot of bird crap. North of that the snow picked up, and we sank in pretty good, made for tough walking, we averaged about 1.7 miles/hour, but the guys I were with weren't in great shape. Stayed at Rocky Run shelter the 2nd night, was also in great shape, and the spring was flowing well.

  17. #17

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    Well ill be heading out in 2 weeks regardless! Thanks for the info. We have a couple days coming up in the mid 50s so hopefully that will put a dent in it.

  18. #18
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    Trip report: Pen Mar to Ensign Cowell shelter and return

    Just returned from a Pen-Mar to Gathland attempt. Got as far as the Ensign Cowell shelter where already one party of two were bailing next AM. We passed about 5 hikers that had one nube and they were insecure about the descent and climb and camped up on the AT, proper. At 2:00 AM three more appeared, unfortunately the shelter was pretty much full and they tented. WE ALL returned, separately, to Pen Mar. One very experiended and well equipped guy in our group was going on South for a week, he's going back to Ohio.

    The trail was super craggy and a few degrees, sun rays, shadows, and of course, time of day made a huge difference in how you'd stumble, slip, fall into 2-3 foot drifts or just skirt the trodded path and walk on firm snow.

    For the most part everyone except a few were fairly experienced and the fun factor wasn't just there.

    Things might change in a few days, however refeezing slush might male it more unfun for a few more weekends.

  19. #19
    Registered User johnnyblisters's Avatar
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    Word, thanks for the reports. We're thinking of doing the 18th through the 21st but only time will tell.
    -milkman

    got soul?

  20. #20

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    Thanks. I was going to go from Pen Mar to Caledonia, but I'm glad I didn't go this weekend.

    I might try 27-28 March.

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