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Dirk's Rambles

Thursday, July 1, 2021, 4 pm

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So alot of eventful things have happened in the past two weeks:
- I finished Virginia, the longest state on the AT. It was over 542 miles long. Seemed like it took forever, lengthened by my shin splint injury. I took a total of 13 zeros while in Virginia because of it, along with numerous neros (short mileage days.
- I completed two additional states- West Virginia (4 miles in length) and Maryland (41 miles in length)
- Spent a zero in Harpers Ferry, where I met Theresa for a day there together. We had a great time hiking a short portion of the trail, having dinner, and seeing the sights of historic Harpers Ferry. She has been so wonderful in support of this trek
- Met Daniel Knupp in Harpers Ferry for lunch. He is a young man I coached in Little League and in rec basketball. He is one of the brightest kids I ever coached. He flattered me by asking to get together while on my trek. He has three sons and a wife who I hear is wonderful.
- Crossed the Mason Dixon Line into Pennsylvania on June 28th. This is now my 7th state. It is 229 miles in length. It is often call "Rockslvania" because of how many rocks, with the pointed edges in the air, there are on the trail. It has a reputation of a difficult place to hike because of the rocks. I hope to complete PA in three weeks or less.
- Began hiking with Two Knees. Two Knees was introduced to me electronically by my cousin Cathy Thomas Morgan several months ago. We ended up in Front Royal, at the end of the Shenandoahs, on the same night. We had a beer and something to eat, then began running into each other. So we started hiking together. Tonight we are in a hostel (Ironmasters Mansion) in Pine Grove Furnace. He's been a great partner. Kilt has joined us for the last several days as well.
- Had dinner two nights ago with Chris McKelvey. Chris was a member of Theresa's bridal party in our wedding. Got to meet her partner, Frank. Frank was alot of fun. It was great seeing them both.
- Stayed at a hostel in Fayetteville, PA called the New Life Worship Center Hostel. They serve a community dinner at the hostel two times a week and one happened to fall on the evening we stayed there (Wednesday night). They served a great meal of roast beef stew, green bean stew, beets, and pie. It was pretty awesome.
- Reached the Halfway point on the trail this morning. This is a big step. I did not do the ice cream challenge. I did the french fry challenge instead. I ordered a plate of fries that was too big for me to finish, believe it or not.
- Also passed the 1,100 mile point today. I am now at mile 1,104.8. I have more miles behind me than I do in front of me. Only 1,088 miles to go! Can't wait to get into only the triple digits.
- I have hiked 14 trail days since taking the zeros to let my shins heal. I have felt no pain or any signs at all of the shin splints. So a big shout out to Janell Smith-Emery and my brother Alex for all of their advice. Though I have backed of my mileage to some degree, I have hiked as much as 17 miles in a day. I feel good.
- My weight dropped to 156 as of last week. This is only one pound more than my weight when I graduated from Penn State in 1977. I probably have put more weight back on since last week as I have been trying to take in more calories. My ideal weight is probably 160 and I am close to that now. I am not too concerned about dropping into the 150s. I feel good in the 150s. If I drop into the low 140s, then I will be concerned.

I'll be meeting Theresa this weekend again. Hopefully I will be in Carlisle then. She will be bringing me a new pair of shoes and new insoles. This will be my third pair of shoes. Getting them in anticipation of Rockslvania.

The scenery continues to be marvelous. Harpers Ferry is beautiful and worthy of anyone's time to visit. The vistas all along the trail in Virginia, WV, MD, and PA are just as good as anyplace in the country, even though the mountains aren't as high as Georgia, NC, and Tennessee. I haven't gotten tired of looking at them.

Still continue to meet many wonderful people. Ran into Yard Dog, who I met several months ago. We saw each other twice in the last week. Also have been in regular touch with Calves, who I hiked with for about a month. He is out of PA and into New Jersey, the last I heard. He is doing very well.
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