It has been yet another eventful week. I’ve covered many miles, two states and one district. It really began on Wednesday when we tackled the “roller coaster”. I had been hearing tales of its difficulty for weeks. It’s described in the guidebook as 13.5 miles of tightly packed ascents and descents, which essentially translates to “the least fun roller coaster ever”. Luckily, it had stormed the night before, which lowers the temperature considerably and we started hiking around 6:00am, so we were able to make it through the roller coaster and to a hostel around 1:00pm. The hostel was stone and looked like a castle. It was a great place to rest and prepare for the next day. To be honest, I was kind of underwhelmed at the difficulty of the coaster. I guess that means I’m getting better at this hiking thing. The next morning the owners of the hostel made us chocolate chip pancakes, then we were on our way.
Unfortunately, I’ve been having a bit of foot pain lately. Since my second day on the trail my third metatarsal has been hurting on and off, but a few days ago while hiking I heard a pop and the pain has been high and constant since then. I was in a lot of pain Thursday morning, but I really wanted to hike 20.5 miles into Harper’s Ferry that day, so I did. A section hiker looked at it during my lunch break and thinks it might be a hairline fracture. Oops!
I reached Harper’s Ferry around 6:00pm and walked right to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Harper’s Ferry is known as the unofficial halfway point, so that’s where they built the Conservancy. So many people drop out before this point that they don’t have you register until 1000 miles in. Being a flip-flopper, I’m only about 550 miles in, but they still let me register. I was the 178th flip-flopper to reach this point.
Friday morning, Dexter, Lost Boy, Butcher, Spider and I took the train to Washington D.C. for a day trip. Soon after arriving, we found a Farmers Market and decided to check it out. We looked at a few booths when one of the vendors waved us over. It turns out that she was a hiker last year and knew Spider (he hiked last year as well). She told us to come back when she got off work and she would show us around the city.
To pass the time, we walked over to the monuments. Spider and Butcher thought it would be a great idea to walk across the Reflection Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. They were fully ready to be taken off to jail, but somehow, no one even batted an eye. And I have video proof!
After that, we found a beautiful stage next to the Washington Monument, so we got on it and sang a few songs. We were about to leave and I couldn’t resist, so I got up there and performed my favorite monologue from The Merchant of Venice. It felt amazing to perform some Shakespeare again.
By the time we got back to the Farmers Market my sister had texted me about the Supreme Court ruling. We helped our new friend pack up her booth, then walked over to the Supreme Court. We celebrated with all of the gay and straight allies for hours. It was a blast! There was a bit of hate going on but ultimately there was an overwhelming sense of love. I’ll never forget that day.
By this point we had been hanging out with the girl from the Farmers Market for hours and felt very comfortable around her, so she offered to let us sleep and shower at her apartment. Of course we accepted. After cleaning up at her place we went out for drinks, then walked over to the Jefferson Monument. It was around 1:00am and all lit up. It was a beautiful sight. I could have stayed there all night.
In the morning we went over to the Museum of Natural History and now we’re going back to the trail. Virginia was nice, West Virginia was cool and it’s on to Maryland tomorrow. It’s a good week to be an American. Good thing it’s almost the 4th! I’ll tell you more about those plans next week.
Have a gay day!
I am dedicating this hike to the orphaned children at Heart for Africa in Swaziland. For more information, I hope you visit my fundraising page at: gofundme.com/st984k
To read more: janinemaxwell.blogspot.com