May 29, 1998

5/29/98 Dahlgren Camping Area

17.1 miles (1015.6 total)

After having breakfast with Veto at Cindy Dee’s Restaurant, we said our tearful goodbye. She doesn’t think she’ll be back on the trail until Monday at the earliest. Who knows when I’ll see her again. Ran into the gang down on the C&O canal towpath. They said the river camping wasn’t good because of the bugs.

Stopped by the Weaverton Cliffs for a good view of the Potomac. The trail is starting to hit more historical spots like Gathland State Park, a monument to Civil War correspondents. Ran into Hair Bear, his sisters, Lil’Engine & Talks A Lot, and his buddies, Woody & TOMIA. Hair Bear has done the trail twice in half sections. Decided to take his sisters out on the adventure.

We all ended up at Dahlgren Backpackers Camping Area, with bathrooms and hot showers. Because I’d sent my tent ahead, I took an attempt at putting up my ground cloth as a shelter using my hiking poles. By the end of the night we had 5 thru-hikers and 7 section hikers camped out. Hair Bear and Woody had backpacking guitars and gave a good concert with Piper joining in with his recorder.

Talks A Lot was telling me the anxiety she was having these first days. Like when they hitch-hiked to the store, she carried a small pocket knife for protection. TOMIA, the most out of shape of the bunch, was concerned about getting stronger. The others seemed to be adjusting better to the trail.

About 10pm, the thunder clouds moved in and I got to test my tarp technique. Result, didn’t get wet at all.