Start: Crampton Gap Shelter
End: Annapolis Rocks campsite
Total Miles: 1043.5
Tom and I got up early and tried to beat the storm to the next shelter. (It never stormed the night before. Some light rain around 2AM was about it.)
About a third of the way there, it got pitch black. And windy. And thunder-y. It poured buckets on us. And there wasn’t much to do but keep hiking.
We arrived soaked to find the shelter beautiful and big and full of friends. (Hammer, Little Wing, Handstand! (whom we hadn’t seen since before Daleville), Apollo, and SkyPilot who we met at Bears Den.)
There wasn’t much for us to do but sit on the porch and try to get less wet. Finally the rain abated and I got too cold just sitting so we moved on.
In a little while we got to Dahlgren campground. It’s a free state-run place with lots of sites, picnic tables, and a brick building housing bathrooms with free hot showers and even some electric outlets.
We showered more for the hot water than anything else, and ate lunch at a picnic table. In a few more miles we reached Washington Monument State Park with more restrooms. These had hand dryers. Still damp from the morning rain, I unabashedly pulled the waistband out my pants out to get hot air circulating. I am going to need a reintroduction to polite society when this is done.
We saw the original George Washington monument then booked it for the next shelter. More rain was coming. There was a cooler of drinks and homemade cookies at I-70. We stowed drinks, scarfed cookies, and kept walking.
Puffy, who we met at Terrapin and stayed the previous night with us, was there contemplating what to do. We took an elongated break, watching my radar App. The big scary stuff went south of us. But we still waited out the light rain, not wanting to undo the drying that occurred throughout the day.
Several hikers came into the shelter while we waited, including the group from the previous shelter. We caught up a bit until Tom and I decided it was time to push on. There were two official campsites coming up (camping is illegal in Maryland except designated spots) and with the rain past, we wanted to tent.
We didn’t make it too far before we realized the flaw in our plan. Food. We should have eaten at the shelter. We felt tired and achey, especially Tom. We stopped at the campsite area just 1.6 miles. It was pretty and we rationalized we wanted to see the view from the rocks in the morning.
After we set up it even sprinkled a bit. Not enough to ruin tenting. Just enough to feel good about being done for the day.
Tom wasn’t kidding about being tired. He was fast asleep by 7:30.
As a small aside, today would have been my grandmother’s 92nd birthday. There isn’t a day I don’t think of her. I am still reconciling her last few years and months (especially the last month) with the memories of the vibrant active Gma I knew as a child. I am very…happy?…to have been a part of the end of her life, but it did come with a cost. I was her confidant and knew her pains and fears. She was ready to go and I cannot be sad she is gone. But I hope she knows where I am, isn’t worrying too much, and is happy for me.