The Appalachian Trail in Maryland follows a forty-mile route along the backbone of South Mountain, a north-south ridge that extends from the Potomac River north to the Pennsylvania border. This section is fairly easy by A.T. standards with only a elevation change of 1,650 feet – the low point is located at the Potomac River (250 feet of elevation) and the high mark is found at High Rock (1,900 feet). Hikers are required to stay at designated shelters and campsites along the way. There are many pretty views and convenient access from nearby towns and highways. This stretch of the A.T. is popular among the Scouting community seeking the merit badge for a fifty-mile hike.
There is one very interesting historical landmark that I read about and look forward to seeing in Maryland. Washington Monument State Park, located close to Boonsboro, MD, is the site of the first completed monument to George Washington. It was built in 1827. Now, the Baltimore Washington Monument was completed two years later, although it had been started considerably earlier in 1815. The famous Washington Monument in the District of Columbia was not completed until 1885. This stone tower was built and dedicated to the first president by the citizens of Boonsboro, Maryland on July 4, 1827. The rock monument is 34 feet tall and was constructed by the citizens of the village themselves. The A.T. goes through the state park, and passes the base of the monument.
The Ed Garvey Memorial Shelter is located on the Appalachian Trail at Weverton Cliffs in Maryland near Harpers Ferry, WV. It was built and named in honor of Edward B. “Ed” Garvey (1914 -1999) who thru-hiked the A.T. in 1970. In 1971, Ed published a book about his journey, Appalachian Hiker: Adventure of a Lifetime. This early composition significantly raised public awareness of thru-hiking. I have not read the text (yet) but an online review shares that there are several chapters dedicated to the preparation stage for the hike, ( what pack to get, what boots to wear), some chapters on the hike itself, and appendices on the flowers, animals, birds and trees of the A.T. Over twenty years later, at the age of seventy-five, Ed once again began the long trek northward, to rediscover the trail and observe the significant changes that two decades have made on the path. As a result, another book, The New Appalachian Trail, was published in 1998. I currently have this book on reserve at my local library. I will share my review and insights when I complete the book. On June 17, 2011 Mr. Garvey was inducted into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame at the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pennsylvania) as a charter member (the museum will be a topic of an upcoming post).
Countdown – 145 days!