View Full Version : Snickers Gap to Harper's Ferry

09-19-2016, 07:45
Took my seven year old son, trail name of Mmm Hmm on the trail north of Snickers Gap, VA for two nights this past Friday and Saturday. His second trip hiking with chknfngrs this year and I think we have a budding long distance hiker. Also his first night in his Hennessy Scout Zip! The goal was to hike to Harper's Ferry and catch the train home to DC. Long story short, we did just that! For the long version, read on!

We were Dropped off at the trailhead at 5:30 by Mama Llama, Sure Shot and Hitch. Said our goodbyes and started hiking. Milestones included first state line crossing and first time using a spring and seeing how to use a scoop cup. We pulled water from the spring just below Raven Rocks and able to easily scoop up enough water for the night/morning. Hiked up to Raven Rocks, admired the view. Was just about dark and then hung our hammocks in the campsite just behind the cliff in the trees. Awesome campsite, but super windy conditions led to a fitful night sleep for both of us. Awoke with the sun and of course more wind. Gobbled down breakfast of PopTarts and instant breakfast drink (which sucks when mixed with whole milk powder) and began our day.

The trail was in good shape and no remarkable views of record. Mmm Hmm enjoyed climbing some of the boulders we encountered. Somewhere just a mile or so south of the Blackburn Trail Center we encountered an odd set of 2x4's nailed to a tree just a few feet off of the trail. It looked to me like some sort of ghetto tree stand for hunters, but I was not certain. At least with some determination you could climb it but of course we let it be.

Made it to Blackburn Trail Center by 11am for lunch, water, and a bit of a break. Some sort of naturalist/flower presentation was happening, which was cool to watch (from a distance). Cool place that id like to return to. We read that the caretaker TrailBoss liked to treat hikers to sodas, sadly he was out bossing the trail around presumably. Signed the register, left a donation and sat on the bench a while. We charged my phone, snacked and headed back out a little before noon. The climb down was easy, the climb up not too bad but most definitely a character building experience.

Every hiker we encountered gave Mmm Hmm good bit of encouragement, which was nice! Hiked on to the David Lesser Memorial Shelter. If we could have, we would have stayed there!! It was so nice and shaded, plenty of room and a nice breeze coming up the hill to cool things off. The caretaker was there putting a coat of varnish on the porch swing in the cooking area. Friendly guy, great dogs scarlet and sparky. Got water from the spring, took a bit of work to get down and back up but worth it. Coldest water on the trail and straight from the ground!

Made it to Keys Gap parking by 5pm, stopped for dinner. Some kind souls had left a water cache! We didn't need it, but happy to see it either way. were both gassed at that point and needed a break. Crushed our dinner, hiked the last 2 miles up to The Four Mile Campsite, the last one prior to entering Harper's Ferry National Hostorical Park. Shared the site that night with section hiker Shazad. Cool guy! Slept like babies that night after hiking so much (all said it was 13.4 with the water fetch of David Lesser)

Mmm Hmm looked so happy and content when we got to he site! Huge accomplishment for him to walk so much that day. Hammocks strung off to the side with care. By 8:30 (HIKER MIDNIGHT) we were both in bed.

6am Awoke Sunday and charged for Harper's Ferry. Rocky trails. Down we hiked and into town by 9am. The public bathrooms were open but nothing else was. Visited the outfitters for trail caliber snacks, and waited until 11 for The Coffee Mill to open. Mmm Hmm downed a Diet Coke and chocolate shake, while I had a double shot of espresso. Met two NOBO thrus named Lost and Found and (can't recall name) along with two SOBO hikers Mojo and Pringles. They talked about going to Chicago (instead of hikkng) and we thought that was awesome!

Train back home to DC seemed to fast. Lunch in Union Station, then street car ride home to the Fambly Ranch.
Greeted again by Mama Llama, Sure Shot and Hitch. Great weekend, and a good learning experience for all of us. Namely, don't plan consecutive days of hiking that include more 7 miles for a 7 year old. He loved each and every Boulder and rock and water feature but we didn't have enough time to enjoy it fully. Next time!! Mmm Hmm is already talking about it!

09-19-2016, 20:17
Sounds like a great trip. I'm pretty sure I crossed paths with both of you on the blue blazed trail heading to/from Blackburn. I was walking uphill to get back to the AT after a lunch break and commented about how I'd rather be going in your direction. You might have mentioned something about it not being that much more but that you had spaced out.

If not, my apologies....but it sounds like that might have been you :-)

09-20-2016, 09:33
Orange/red backpack guy with glasses and bandana, we remember! Nice to meet ya

09-20-2016, 10:42
That's me...

I'm glad you had a great trip.

Perhaps on another trip, in the same area, there is an awesome campground .5m S. of Rt. 605 (the gravel road between Snickers Gap and Ashby Gap right next to the stream. It's one of my favorite local spots to stay