|View from Annapolis Rocks|
|My cousin, myself and my husband|
Finally, we made it to the Interstate 70 overpass. This was my husband's thrill of the trip. As a kid (and adult) he passed under that bridge on trips to visit his grandparents, and he always wanted to walk across it. My cousin and I did our best to muster pleasant faces for the photos
Once we crossed over the bridge, we meandered around people's backyards before deciding to take a break and have a snack. We met a few people out for a day hike who were headed the same direction we were. One was a Hispanic man in a bright yellow shirt (he's important later). After resting and eating some snacks, we got up and headed back on the trail. Our plan was to hike the roughly 3 miles to the Washington Monument (the original one in Boonsboro, MD not the one in DC) and eat our lunch there.
It was a grueling 3 miles because 1. It was the longest 3 miles I've ever hiked and 2. There was a never ending
We did finally make it to the top. There we met 2 men headed north on a hike and we stopped to chat with them. I asked how far it was to the Dahlgren campground. One said less than a mile and his partner said, "No it isn't, remember you can't trust information from other hikers on the trail" Turned out it was more like 2 miles. I thought about all the horrific stories we heard about upcoming terrain from The Wannabes and Eeyore and realized the guy was right, you can't trust the information. They assured us that the hike wasn't too bad and that we wouldn't have any trouble getting there after we ate.
The vultures were there. Circling.
Normally I would be interested in walking around and looking at the view, but all I wanted to do was
After lunch and a rest, we headed out. At this point, I had made the decision that I needed to end the hike. My cousin had also come to this decision as she was dealing with some pain as well. My husband is the one who really pushed that I needed to stop. So the choice was made, my cousin and I would be heading to her house for the remainder of the trip while my mom and husband continued on. As we made our way down the trail, we discovered that there was more to the Washington Monument State Park than we realized. Down the hill from the monument, there are pavilions, picnic areas, a museum and bathrooms. Had we known, we might have eaten our lunch comfortably at a picnic table.
As we hiked on, we that we would all have dinner at the Olde South Mountain Inn which was where we were meeting my aunt. The thought of a hot meal that didn't require me to boil water and a soft bed I didn't have to blow up gave me a little extra energy (not to mention all the extra sugar from the lifesaver candies my mom was handing me). We reached the parking lot of the restaurant and my cousin and I sat on the curb and waited while my mom and husband went to set up their camp at the Dahlgren Backpacking campsite. When my aunt pulled in, my cousin and I were all smiles and waving. My aunt commented that we made it past MD 77 which was further than she thought we would make it (like I said, she's hilarious).
When my mom and husband made it back, we all headed into the restaurant. We weren't exactly dressed for the occasion, though luckily, none of us stunk too bad. There was a wedding rehearsal dinner going on, and we were all a little self conscious about our clothes. The staff at the Inn were very nice and treated us just like any other customer who might be in better attire. Our meals were awesome as was the dessert. Starting back on day 1 about an hour into the hike, we were all dreaming about food. I guess when you're hiking through the woods with little to no signs of civilization carrying everything you need to survive on your back, food becomes an obsession. My mom, cousin and husband started talking about Key Lime pie and continued talking about it right up until we were seated at the table in the Inn. And wouldn't you know it, the South Mountain Inn had Key Lime pie. I had the chocolate Godiva cake and it was awesome. This turned out to be a surprise gem in our trip. We had a great time, ate great food and had a great waiter. The only odd treatment we received was some hoity toity blonde woman who turned her nose up at us as we walked out (I swear we didn't stink). For those planning hikes along the trail here, note that the menu is pricey (though so worth it). After dinner, we said our goodbyes and my cousin and I headed to her place for showers and clean clothes. It was up there in my top 5 showers (hard to beat the shower I had after living in a field for several days at the UFO Ranch in Washington or the one I had after a weekend of Scout Camporee and nothing but Port-a-Pottys)
Day 3 coming up!