Day 57 on the Appalachian Trail

Up at 5:30am for a breakfast of two tortillas, sliced ham, and mayonnaise. Cheese would have made it even better. I left town at 6am and walked down High Street for a block to the Appalachian Trail and turned north. Just as I hit the AT, I met young hiker Feeling Better. He and I walked across the railroad bridge across the Potomac River into Maryland. We continued together on the towpath for the old C&O Canal. During the 1800s, barges plied the canal from Harper's Ferry to Washington, DC. Mules walked along the towpath and pulled the barges. Feeling Better and I chatted as we walked 2.5 miles on the towpath. Alas, the AT left the smooth and level towpath and headed uphill. Feeling Better motored ahead while I plodded uphill gaining 800 feet of elevation to the turnoff to the Ed Garvey shelter at mile 6 on the day. Aside from that climb, the AT didn't gain or lose much elevation for the rest of the day, plus the trail was generally wide with a decent tread. Easy walking and the air was cool. The trail ran mainly through mature deciduous  forest with lots of beech trees. I happened upon a 5-foot long black rat snake lying on the trail (see photo). It hardly moved as I took its picture. At mile 20 on the day, I passed through Washington Monument State Park with a fortress-like monument to George Washington. The last 4 miles of the day passed through more mature forest then crossed over busy Interstate 70 with three lanes of roaring traffic in each direction. Less than a mile later, I arrived at the Pine Knob shelter for the night. I can hear the traffic on I-70 in the background, but it's not obnoxious. An easy day on the trail. Today's miles - 22.9. Total miles - 1046.0.

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