Coming into Waynesboro was sort of an event amongst the Fellowship, we split three ways. Nemo hitched in early because he had a rash that was making movement unpleasant. Rescue and Medicine Man stopped at the shelter just a few miles out to wait out the overnight storm. I decided to make it all the way into town for my first 30+ mile day, it was an interesting time. Leading out from the last shelter and moving quick it seemed I was in the eye of the storm, there was just a circle of clear blue sky above amidst a thunderous chorus, moving quickly I had an uneventful bear encounter just before stopping to put on my rain shell. I got to the road dry, found some ciders left as trail magic, (Thanks go to Yo-Yo and Tweet) and started to head towards town hoping for a hitch. Almost to town and taking some dime-sized hail and thunder, I was picked up by a man named Ben driving a hearse. We exchanged jokes about how horror-esque the situation was and he took me to town where he thought Nemo might’ve set up our tent. I wandered about yelling for them, but no luck. I went to the grocery store for some food and curled up beneath a bridge.
We all found each other the next morning, and we started make our aqua-blazing plans. The nights storm had brought in enough water that our outfitter wasn’t gonna let us launch for another four days. We had a good time in town, with people catching up and passing us by, and ended up with Rescue Nemo Smokes Keytar and Eddy in the boats, we had a few flips, much to atleast one person’s embarrassment. On the whole though it was a super chilled out lazy river trip, and just the right break for Nemo and I before said our goodbyes and caught a convenient ride from my Sister back to Waynesboro and started our push back to Harper’s Ferry. We did some big miles through the Shenandoah Hiker Highway, and made it back there in time for us to meet up with Rescue, take a night in DC and catch our bus to Boston to see Nemo’s sister graduate, and eat lotsa food at grad parties. This was where Nemo and I would actually part, He and Rescue dropped me off as close to the WV/VA border as they could and I got started on the 4-state challenge.
Walking the 4-state challenge, making it from VA through WV and MD into PA over the course of about 44 miles, in 24 hours is an interesting personal challenge and worth it for most thru-hikers. However, I have some recommendations for anyone considering attempting it. Start early, think before sunrise, not 6pm. Take care not to get turned around or lost, particularly at night when you might not notice until you hit a landmark you had passed hours earlier. Finally, 44 miles is a long way to travel in a day, even though you’ve made it over a 1000 miles aready if you are on the thru-hiking plan, take breaks, drink water, and remember to set up shelter before collapsing at the end, it might rain overnight.