Carey Kish is thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is currently in Virginia. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.
June 17, 2015: Ashby Gap (US50) to Bears Den Hostel, 13.5 miles, 9:00am to 4:45pm.
Crossed the 1000-mild mark today… Woo-hoo! Am settled into the most excellent Bears Den Hostel this evening, and writing this from my comfy bed. Enjoyed a hot shower earlier, then a frozen pizza and several sodas for dinner. Now relaxing after a fairly tough day.
Bears Den is a great old stone mansion, now converted into a sweet hostel owned by ATC and managed by PATC. Wonderful place!
Another good breakfast then a sad goodbye to Mountain Cabbin thus morning. Shellie shuttled us to Ashby Gap and we were off fully loaded for a big day of tough terrain.
Four miles north of the gap begins the famous Roller Coaster section, a 13.5-mile series of tightly-packed and mighty strenuous ascents and descents. Gray skies today, relatively cool even.
There was nothing spectacular about the stretch other than the ups and downs, which were no biggie at first, but certainly wore me down over the hours. Lunch was on a log somewhere en route, then the afternoon brought rain.
Somewhere north of Buzzard Hill I saw the stones on the ground, “1000,” meaning I’d just crossed the big milestone. The rain fell in earnest now, but I couldn’t care. I was some kind of pumped and I charged ahead over the next few hills.
Ground my way up to Bears Den, and met Mr and Mrs Fancy near the blue-blaze side trail to the hostel. They to,d us that only two bunks were left. Yikes! With that I pretty much jogged the quarter-mile to the stone building.
Check-in was confusing and took some time, but we all finally got decent bunk space, not in the smelly downstairs but in the very nice upstairs bunk rooms. Good spot this is, popular too. The place looks close to full up. Not surprising for a rainy night.
Booked a room for tomorrow night in Harpers Ferry. Allen from here at the hostel will shuttle our packs–mine, DB, Rougaroo and Palamino–to HF, while we slack pack the 21 miles into town. Along the way we’ll leave Virginia and cross into West Virginia. Yeah!