West Virginia and Hurricane Florence

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4 miles, 9 Days (it will make sense in a little bit)

As you might recall, Spirit, Sun Chaser and I had arrived at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia very late. Or early, depending on what kind of person you are. We woke up the following day on not enough sleep. We had breakfast at a cafe close by before the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservancy) opened. When they did, we walked over there to have our pictures taken. They take “Polaroid” style photos of all hikers coming through to keep records. It’s also become a fun thing for hikers, seeing that Harpers Ferry is more or less considered the halfway point. I know, I know, the halfway point is actually two states north in Pennsylvania. But Harpers Ferry is the “mental” halfway point.

As we were hanging out at the ATC, one of the employees informed us that the entire trail was closed south of Harpers Ferry. No hiking to be done. Lucky for us we had already found a place to stay and Angela came to pick us up.

So, about that hurricane. There had been warnings for a while about a very severe hurricane named Florence, approaching the east coast. So Sun Chaser’s relative Angela had offered to take us in while Florence passed. We ended up spending about a week there. This post will be about that and not so much about trail, seeing that West Virginia is about 4 miles.

Home for the coming days.

We arrived at the house in Purcellville, VA. It was really homey and we all got a room to ourselves! With clean beds! I repeat: BEDS! We met most of the family the first day and had a delicious, home cooked meal. It seemed too good to be true. Spending a few days here did not seem like it’d be hard at all.

Sun Chaser found the Tree House.

We did a lot of “normal” things. Like go to Chipotle, Best Buy, Costco, hang out in the backyard, drink really good coffee from a machine in the morning, play with their dog, play with Luke, the youngest of the kids. It was a really good time and Angela w/ family was so welcoming and generous.

Spirit & Luke
Deceiving food truck.

We spent a day in Washington D.C., of course falling into the trap of the overpriced food trucks. They were so shiny and inviting though. We rented bikes and took pictures with the things you’re supposed to take pictures of.

Not quite my right element.

We rode around, saw The White House, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument among other things. It was a fun day. Very different from the normally quiet and peaceful days on trail. Whenever it’s just for a day like that it’s great, but any more and the big city life becomes overwhelming.

Several days had passed, passing the time mostly through writing, eating and watching movies. The hurricane was scheduled to hit but we saw nearly nothing of it, only some slight wind. Granted; Northern Virginia was in the outskirts of the affected area. Nonetheless, we were getting restless. As nice as a few days off had been, we were out to hike and every day spent not hiking started to feel like frustrating.

Finally we couldn’t wait anymore. So Angela was nice enough to slack pack us (when you leave some of your gear to have a lighter pack, and someone comes and picks you up wherever you end for the day. Common on the AT, not so much on the PCT, due to the lack of roads.) so that we could at least get a few miles in. She took us to Harpers Ferry, where we had gotten off.

Leaving Harpers Ferry.

All of us were exhausted and out of shape from not walking for several days. It was rough getting back into it. We hiked the 4 miles through West Virginia and entered Virginia, finally.

Because we were slack packing, we actually went back to Angela’s house. But that was technically from Virginia, so it doesn’t belong in this post. Next time: Virginia and why it came to be my favourite state on the AT.

Lastly I want to thank Angela and Family for their incredible act of kindness. It was truly a pleasure!


  1. Rosie Hurtado says

    Hi Nick! A note from your friends Rosie & Jeff from Long Beach California! (we met you at bridge of the Gods and bought you lunch then again in Pasadena) Hope you are doing well!
    Guess what, Jeff is on the PCT! I dropped him off at Campo 2 weeks ago, he’s going to see how long he can go. (he got his permit late and did not have alot of time to prepare. Kennedy Meadows is his goal and then he will re-evaluate to see if you continues on. He admits he does not do well in the cold and I think the sierra’s will be a bear this year. It’s been cold and rainy thru Julian and Warner springs …..hopefully the sun will start shining soon for him.
    I think you have Instagram, if so, please follow him 1lizardman. I’m sure he would love to hear from you.
    Be well and take care


  2. Eva Gubbins says

    I love reading your posts Nick, makes me feel like I am Close to you honey xxxxxxx


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