Shenandoah National Park

Yesterday I entered the Shenandoah NP, the second NP on the AT (the other being the Smokies). This park I visited frequently in my teens and twenties. I’ve been a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for over 30 years – they maintain this part of the AT.

In the first 30 minutes of my time in SNP, I saw 4 bears. Two sets of moms with a single cub.

Also saw a very tame deer.

Then the rain came.

Some rainy day shots

A hickory nut.

Set webs galore:

Then the sun came out.

Great first day in SNP, 


The beauty of the Old Dominion

Cooled off a bit today – highs in the high 70’s, compared to the mid 90’s the day before. And the trail was quite a bit easier.

Lots of nice seeds



Another fruit, the Persimmon

Yum – tastes like an apricot

Nice leaves

And flowers

And tree bark

White Oak

Tulip poplar

Sassafras (I didn’t know it could grow into a large tree!)

And a few more sights along the way

Passed under interstate 66

Good thing I like Virginia, because there are 522 miles of it on the AT!!


The Roller Coaster

As I left West Virginia today

I saw this sign

Little did I know that the Trailboss had designed 14 miles of trail that were very steep and very rocky. It took me all day to get thru this section. I’m not sure I’d call it a “great ride”. It was 94 degrees today, do I’m calling it a “great sweat”

I’ve seen several of these the last few days

But wasn’t able to catch one until today

Very beautiful snake!!

Some interesting bark

A few more notable findings from today’s travels:

Another healthy beech tree

Sassafras leaf 

Hoping for cooler weather and no more roller coasters,


Summer’s final days

As I hike these days, I am appreciating the end of summer – days are getting shorter, leaves are falling and fruits and nuts are raining down.

Right now I’m in my tent and acorns are falling constantly

So are walnuts

Anybody know what this is?

I never tried paw paws before but decided to try one today – they taste like a cross between a banana and a mango – really good!

Left Harper’s Ferry this morning after another visit to the ATC headquarters. 

They had this cool poster on the wall:

Lucky I had s nice clear day to summit Katahdin (unlike the guy above).

I’m hiking along the Virginia/West Virginia Border

The trail is intermittently very rocky (in the photo below, the only way to figure out which way to go is to look for the white blaze in the distance.

I crossed the Shenandoah River – one of my favorite places on earth – I’ll be hiking along this river for quite a while

A few more photos from just outside Harper’s Ferry:

I’m camping at the Blackburn Center campground tonight – quite a place

This large structure hosts ATC events and trail maintenance work teams. It has electricity and running water. 

Enjoying the end of summer, 


West Virginia

Crossed the mighty Potomac River into Harper’s Ferry WV this afternoon 

The bridge (which you can see in the photo above) is for both pedestrians and a train

View from the bridge (lots of folks tubing)

Harper’s Ferry is a small town with a lot of history

John Brown (some controversy here):

The civil war:

Robert E Lee was a confident guy:

23000 casualties in one day!!!

And here’s a story for any of you who like to plan ahead:

Check out the inscription above the mausoleum:

Earlier in the day, I hiked along the C&O towpath

A few more photos from today

There’s a lot to see on the AT!!

I didn’t mention that Harper’s Ferry is the home of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. They welcomed me in, sold me a cool “white blaze” Tshirt 

and photographed me for their thru hiker year book

When I stepped into WV, I touched the 14th and final state on the course of the AT. Now I just need to finish up some big miles in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Touchin’ ’em all,



Finally cooled off today and I got to appreciate some of what Maryland has to offer. The forest is beautiful with tall deciduous trees. Today was a windy day and leaves were falling and covering the trail.

Passed over interstate 70 on a very pretty bridge

Visited the original Washington Monument (which is right on the AT)

George Washington did a lot of stuff!!

At the top of the monument, I met Kirk. He was counting migrating raptors, which are headed south in large numbers now. He pointed out a broad winged hawk to me.

The Dahlgren Chapel (also right on the trail)

Maryland is great!!

On to Harper’s Ferry,


So hot

Yesterday was a brutally hot and humid day

I was drenched in sweat and had gnats flying all around my head.

The beech trees in this part of the country are much healthier and have smooth bark. Smooth enough to get carved up:

There are nice stone walls – like in southern New England

Some fine views:

A snake

A couple more

Cooling off today,


Southern Pennsylvania

Took off from Arlington VA with my friend Trueman who drove me to Fayettesville PA. He then joined me for a day hike

We hiked southbound. It was very hot and very humid – pretty much constantly soaked with sweat

Can u feel the humidity?

Nice views along the way

Just crossed the Mason Dixon line into Maryland

A bolete with bright yellow pores

Big thunderstorm last night but it didn’t cool things off – high in the 90’s today. Predicted to cool off tomorrow.

Hot in September,


The middle third

I hiked the first 608 miles of the AT from mid-March thru mid-May, then got back on from mid June through late August and covered 844 miles.

That leaves me 737 miles in the middle – Virginia thru New Jersey.

Later this week, I’ll get back on in Pennsylvania and head south (first time I’ve hiked southbound).

My route has been unusual, so I’m curious who I might run in to for this section.

Left Little Gott Island this morning.

Had a great time with my neice and nephew:

​​A Swainson’s thrush that hit the window of the cabin and was stunned:

Views of the cabin and from the island:

Sunrise from the cabin deck:

View to the north of mount desert island / Acadia NP

Low tide – we dug clams

S’mores in the fireplace prepared by my niece Sadie each evening.

Listened to the Red Sox game with my nephew Gus each day (see the radio on the table, above).
Ram island to the east – next stop would be Portugal

Bye, bye coastal Maine,