May 23, 1998

5/23/98 Manassas Gap Shelter

10.8 miles (954.9 total)

Drank way too much last night. Moondaddie has 4 friends that drove down for the weekend to hike. We crammed 12 people into 2 rooms. Kevin even showed up late. I ended up sleeping on the floor. Wasn’t really that bad until someone turned on the air conditioning. Sometime in the early hours, a very drunk Longstride came into the room, stepped over me and jumped on the bed to give Veto a kiss and a hickey.

This morning we did pretty good at getting everything done for every body: laundry, groceries, breakfast . Found the "Good Thyme" health food store between the laundry and regular store. Stuff in bulk and everything. Finally found some dehydrated refried beans. About noon we were all ready to head for the trail.

All morning, the sky stayed grey with occasional rain. As we unloaded the cars, we got a glimpse of how the weekend (and maybe the summer) on the trail was going to be - just ahead of us were about 20 boy scouts, plus a couple of weekenders.

'Crazy' hikers!

The first thing we see on the trail is a sign "NO TRESPASSING, VIOLATORS WILL BE EATEN". For the first couple miles, we hiked along the fence of the National Zoo Compound but the only animals we saw were some African donkeys.

A lot of this trail was severely overgrown but fairly easy hiking. As the sun finally came out, the trail also became clear. Made the 5 miles to the shelter in less than 2 hours. When I got there, the shelter was already full of weekenders, with a few even tenting. The only thru-hiker was Messenger. Didn’t take much to convince me to move on to the next shelter. The last couple of miles to Manassas Gap shelter were a little more difficult. Guess the trail can’t get too easy.

Smiley arrived first at a shelter already full of more boy scouts. The kids were tenting but the adults had the shelter. We ended up off a side trail. Finding places flat and clear enough of rocks is just about impossible. After going back to use the privy and get water, I’m kind of glad there wasn’t room in the shelter. Veto ended up staying with Moondaddie at the last shelter. Her dad is meeting her at Harper’s Ferry on Friday so she can afford to slow down. Brian, one of the weekenders came to visit us because he couldn’t take the scouts all night.