The next morning, my mom and husband headed out on the trail from Dahlgren. Though designated as a backpacking campsite for backpackers, it is apparently the local camping site for young adults who want to party for free. Luckily, my mom and husband were able to get a site and also were able to get hot showers there. I woke up in a nice comfy bed, though I was still in some significant pain. My cousin came to see how I was. I was stretching and said "Oh, my bad ass is really bothering me!" She laughed and said, "that's your trail name: Bad Ass, not because you are one but because you have one!"
Meanwhile on the trail, my mom and husband met a thru hiker headed north. My husband really wanted to talk to some thru hikers, so this was a highlight for him. The hiker was called "Scorched Heels" so named for some bad blisters he experienced early on in his journey. He was hiking in a kilt, and my mom gave him her stash of Gummy Bears.
Back at base camp, my cousin and I decided that we were going to offer trail magic to the other two. We estimated their travel time, and planned on meeting them at Gathland State Park. So we headed out to get some Subway subs and drinks. We opted to hike up the trail and find a spot to sit and wait for them. Of course, the trail was uphill heading north. And, of course, my cousin kept telling me we were "Almost There". Finally I told her that should be her trail name, because she was always telling us we were "almost there" at every hill (and typically we weren't even close). We threw around the idea that my mom should be "Lifesaver" because she kept feeding them to me. This triggered a memory about when my brother was little. He could be a real handful, and my mom got into the habit of having lifesavers on hand.
She used them to keep him quiet.
My cousin and I continued to hike until we found a nice log to sit on. We met several people out for day hikes and watched tons of butterflies floating around the trail. One thing I noticed on this trip was that the Appalachian Trail seemed to be some kind of butterfly highway. I saw tons of them flying up and down the trail. We waited forever for my mom and husband to make it down the trail. We asked one southbound group if they had seen them and they told us that they had passed them a while back.
Finally, we saw them headed our way. We hiked down to Gathland State Park with them and got out their subs and drinks. They inhaled the food. We also had some water bottles so they could refill water without needing to filter it. Gathland has a bathroom, so they made use of the facilities before checking the place out.
Gathland State Park is home to the only War Correspondent's Memorial which was built by George Townsend in 1896. Townsend was a Civil War correspondent. He wrote under the name "Gath" and made all his money writing. Gathland State Park is one of the haunted spots along the Appalachian Trail. My cousin and I have actually gone on paranormal investigations in the area. Not only is Gathland said to be haunted by George Townsend, but the area was also the scene of the battle at Crampton's Gap during the Civil War.
Eventually it was time for them to head back on the trail to their next nightly stop: Ed Garvey Shelter. My cousin and I pointed them in the right direction and said our goodbyes promising to meet them in Harper's Ferry the next afternoon. While they headed south, my cousin and I headed into Sharpsburg, MD to get some excellent ice cream from Nutter's. We ended up sitting on a bench in the cemetery to eat our ice cream. This might seem like
Later, my husband let us know that they had reached the shelter. He sent me a photo of his sleeping accommodations for the night.
I returned the gesture by sending him my sleeping accommodations for the night.
My mom and husband had a nice campfire going that night and enjoyed time with some of the people they had met on the trail. One couple named Roxanne and Joe was doing a flip flop together. They had sold their home and headed out on the trail together. We later learned that the wife had an injury and ended up stopping just past the MD/PA line, but as of this writing, the husband was still on the trail somewhere near New Hampshire. They also spent some time with 2 girls we had all met at Gathland. The girls had a container of wine with them and they and my mom shared some. My mom told them the story about my husband's potential trail name of "Maria" and as they went to bed later that night they yelled out, "Goodnight Maria!"
The Final Day coming up!