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  1. #1
    Registered User jlp1976's Avatar
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    Default Doing the Maryland section

    I have been working on the logistics of a section hike of the Marland portion in the beginning of May 2018. I've noticed in most of the videos everyone goes from Pen Mar to Harper's Ferry. Is there a reason for that? Also is there overnight parking at Pen Mar and if so does anyone shuttle from Pen Mar to Harper's in case I decide to go NOBO?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2

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    People end at Harper’s Ferry since it offers hostels and hotels to clean up at. Of course, there is also food and alcohol for people whose hiking style includes that. The easier highway access at Harper’s Ferry also makes transport a bit more convenient, as the hostels in the area offer shuttles. Otherwise the differences between of NoBo and SoBo are minimal.
    You can park at Pen-Mar, there is a lot for backpackers. E-mail Christine Casey (ccasey@washco-md.net) with your brand and model of vehicle, registered owner, and license plate in order to make arrangements.

  3. #3
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    The Teahorse hostel in HF offers shuttles: http://www.teahorsehostel.com/Shuttles.html

    I hiked MD as part of a longer section NOBO but can see why people focusing on just MD would go SOBO - nice to end in a town with many services and transportation options. Also some people might prefer descending into HF rather than climbing up to start the section. I'd recommend staying near the Ed Garvey shelter if your schedule allows. It is a nice place to camp and there are several tent sites but those who like shelters will like this one.

  4. #4

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    I did this nobo as my first state completed. I started in harpers ferry after dropping our car at Pen Mar. I actually parked my car at pen mar rd about .4 past the park so that we could all walk across the state line into PA. There is room there for about 6 cars.

    When I started southern PA I parked at the park parking lot, did not contact anyone as I did not know I had to, but I am guessing that with my AT sticker on the back of my car they got the gist. Parked there for 5 days and no problem.

    I would personally hike it northbound again vs south only because I would not want make the climb up to high rock if I didn't have. It is very rocky as I remember.

    Not a lot of trail amenities thru MD however I was not very adverse in trail logistics so there may be hostels/ trail towns we passed along the way without knowing however in a 42 miles stretch there isn't a great need for those things.

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    If going SoBo, there is a large lot directly across the street from Penmar. The Pa border is a couple of tenths north if there and you can either walk to the border or just start at Penmar. There is limited parking at Penmar road, I parked there the first time I hiked that section but not the multiple times since.

    As as far as ending point. I have primarily sectioned hiked the AT and I learned in Ga that state lines are not good start or stop points. You are much better looking at the transportation network.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  6. #6
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    Easier parking at Pen Mar just outside the gate to the park.
    Also downhill off Weaverton Cliffs into Harpers Ferry makes for no big elevation gains for the entire state.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

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    Consider adding 6 miles and start or end at route 9 WVA. That will allow you to complete the 4 state challenge as you will do parts of VA, WVA, MD, and PA.

  8. #8

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    I love that section, done it many times since the 1960's, both ways. Classic. Did it once in the winter and it was nice to be able to see a long way through the woods.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlp1976 View Post
    I have been working on the logistics of a section hike of the Marland portion in the beginning of May 2018. I've noticed in most of the videos everyone goes from Pen Mar to Harper's Ferry. Is there a reason for that? Also is there overnight parking at Pen Mar and if so does anyone shuttle from Pen Mar to Harper's in case I decide to go NOBO?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
    I did the Maryland section last year. The reason I went SOBO is because the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is in Harpers Ferry and I wanted to hang out there for a day in time sight see. There's nothing in Penn Mar really except a park where you can leave a car. If you do go from Harpers Ferry to penmar go little bit further and take your picture at the Mason-Dixon line.

    Rhonda Adams will shuttle you between Harpers Ferry and Penn Mar. You can look her up on Facebook or I'll be happy to send her phone number in a p.m.

    Good luck.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/El1GZBm5TB86RwLm2

    Sent from my FRD-L04 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    Consider adding 6 miles and start or end at route 9 WVA. That will allow you to complete the 4 state challenge as you will do parts of VA, WVA, MD, and PA.
    You hit VA at the top of the climb out of HF, you don't have to go all the way the Rt 9. It is also done in a day which is not likely the OPs intention.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  11. #11
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    One of my favorite sections, have done it over and over. Preferable to PenMar to Harper's Ferry. Harper's is just a cool place to walk around, grab a drink or a bite, and unwind after a hike. It's visually stimulating as well.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    You hit VA at the top of the climb out of HF, you don't have to go all the way the Rt 9. It is also done in a day which is not likely the OPs intention.
    I believe 9 WVA is the first point south of HF where there is a trailhead. If you want to just hike to the first VA sign and then backtrack, then what you said works just as well.

    while most people may mean doing the 4 states in 24 hours. plenty of people have told me I was doing the 4 state challenge when I did it with my brother over 4 days. So I think is must be fair to say you did the four state challenge just in x days instead of 24 hours. as long as you stick he in x days no one is confused.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    while most people may mean doing the 4 states in 24 hours. plenty of people have told me I was doing the 4 state challenge when I did it with my brother over 4 days. So I think is must be fair to say you did the four state challenge just in x days instead of 24 hours. as long as you stick he in x days no one is confused.
    Using that logic I guess I am doing the AT 14 state challenge in 7 years...
    Im also doing the half gallon challenge over the course of this week
    and the 12 pack of beer in an hour challenge over the course of this evenings 5 available hours after work


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    I believe 9 WVA is the first point south of HF where there is a trailhead. If you want to just hike to the first VA sign and then backtrack, then what you said works just as well.

    while most people may mean doing the 4 states in 24 hours. plenty of people have told me I was doing the 4 state challenge when I did it with my brother over 4 days. So I think is must be fair to say you did the four state challenge just in x days instead of 24 hours. as long as you stick he in x days no one is confused.
    Ahh no, the four state challenge is a very specific thing, x=1. It is in a day, period. Next thing you know the half gallon challenge will be met my eating a spoonful of ice cream in every trail town.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  15. #15

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    One of the few things that people agree about on the Four-State Challenge is that it occurs within a 24-hour period.

    There is no consensus as to what distance of the Four State Challenge is; of the three variants one consists of 58.6 miles, a second of 54.9 miles, and a version of 46.1 miles. The disagreement centers on Loudoun Heights, which is both the route of the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia—West Virginia border. The trail runs along the Loudoun Heights for 17.3 miles, so if you accept that as the end point, instead of the point where the trail crosses completely into Virginia, you cut off all of those miles. That is what the 46.1 mile version does.

    The 58.6 mile hike goes from the Pennsylvania—Maryland line to West Virginia—Virginia line. 54.9 mile hike is from the last shelter in Pennsylvania to the first shelter in Virginia. The Virginia Shelter is actually downhill from Loudoun Heights, so while it is in Virginia, the trail it is off of is not. The 54.9 mile one between Deer Lick Shelters and David Lesser Shelter is usually what thru-hikers talk about.

    These numbers are based on the 2018 data book, but are probably off, or soon will be. The PATC is rerouting the trail up to Loudon Heights from Chestnut Hill Road. I am training to hike the longest variation in the fall of 2018 or early summer of 2019.

  16. #16
    Registered User jlp1976's Avatar
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    I am now starting to question my decision of going NOBO. It would be nice to end in a town. Especially Harpers Ferry. Where is the place to park there? I would still need to be shuttles to Pen Mar though. I was wanting to go NOBO just because that is how I will be attempting a full through hike and I was wanting to mimic it. But I was also going to drive back to Harpers Ferry anyways after I finished so I could check it out.

  17. #17
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    My sons - then 10 and 12 - went NOBO Harpers to Penmar in 2009. That was a great hike!!!! We staged our vehicle in Penmar and had a shuttle drive us to Harpers to start...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    Next thing you know the half gallon challenge will be met my eating a spoonful of ice cream in every trail town.
    that would be torture, not a challenge, to stop at one spoonful each time - especially since you would of course have to pay for more each time

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlp1976 View Post
    I am now starting to question my decision of going NOBO. It would be nice to end in a town. Especially Harpers Ferry. Where is the place to park there? I would still need to be shuttles to Pen Mar though. I was wanting to go NOBO just because that is how I will be attempting a full through hike and I was wanting to mimic it. But I was also going to drive back to Harpers Ferry anyways after I finished so I could check it out.
    take the Amtrak south bend to harpers either nobo or a shuttle as posted to penmar and back to harpers

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