I've hit some huge milestones lately, definitely time for an update.
Woke up at midnight for the 4 state challenge and hit the state line and started around 1am. Deer for the most part usually just stand right off trail and stare at you. Fine during the day. But at night, their eyes glow a creepy bright yellow when your headlamp hits them. Very unnerving. Coming into Harper's Ferry, I almost walked into a sleeping homeless guy under the bridge. Then, I ran into some super creepy people hanging out at Jefferson Rock in the dark at 2am. Scared the hell out of me. Passed through the town and then almost got attacked by a german shepherd at a campsite by the river. After all that, I was way too tense to have fun, just counting down the hours till daylight. Once that hit though, I hit my stride and cruised through Maryland. Other than the 90 degree heat and the 2 mile downhill rock scramble at the very end, the hike went well. Kinda delirious at the end, mindlessly putting one foot in front of the other. Sign to sign, 4 total states traveled through, it took me 17 hours and 30 minutes. 46 total miles. Tired but extremely proud. Only know one other hiker who did it as well.
A couple days later I hit the exact 1/2 way point. There's a big sign there. Awesome feeling stepping just to other side and knowing I have less miles ahead of me then behind me!
AT tradition includes the ice cream 1/2 gallon challenge just past that point. You get a little wooden spoon if you do it. One problem. We are all hiking too fast and the store doesn't open until Memorial Day. We got word a store on the trail 8 miles further up sold 1/2 gallons and that other hikers had done the challenge there. Rooster and I decided to follow suit. When we got there we realized that the "1/2 gallons" everyone had been eating weren't actually 1/2 of a gallon and that we needed to add another pint. My mom taught me that If you're gonna do something stupid, you might as well do it right. I went with cappuccino crunch for the big one and black raspberry for the pint. We even got chocolate syrup as well. I started very enthusiastically. A few minutes in, the size of the task I was undertaking suddenly seemed very big. But then I remembered, while I don't do a whole lot of things well, eating ice cream is most certainly one of them. 30 minutes later I was tipping back the cartons and drinking the last melted stuff at the bottom. Then we hiked 7 more miles. 15 total miles for the day plus the challenge. That's how thru hiker winners roll.
On to more Pennsylvania! ...which has put up a pretty poor fight so far for being nicknamed the rockiest state on the AT.