“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” — Aristotle
The very first hiking excursion Larry, the dogs and I took after moving to Northern Virginia was a portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT). It was the four-mile stretch of the iconic path located in West Virginia. One Saturday morning we jumped in the car and drove 66 miles west along I-66 from Arlington to an Appalachian Trailhead in Harpers Ferry. We spent the day trekking in the Mountain State and viewing the gorgeous autumn colored tree canopies and foliage.
This was a special hike because it was the first-time Larry, the dogs and I set foot in West Virginia as well as hiked a trial that traversed more than one state. We have come close to hiking interstate trails once before, skirting along the Georgia and North Carolina border yet never crossing it. The West Virginia portion of the AT was well packed and clearly defined. There was not much hiking signage yet enough to guide you along with confidence. I do not remember our encountering many fellow hikers – except for the ones we saw in a clearing that opened never-ending views of the countryside. They volunteered to take pictures of Larry, the dogs, and me.
Hiking along remote trails has a much-needed tranquil feel to it. The quietness of any trail, not only the AT, is a quality we very much appreciate because it amplifies the feeling of absorbing nature’s beauty as if it all came to be solely for our benefit. The bluffs we came upon offered the most picturesque displays of mountainous hues of oranges, browns, reds, and greens Larry and I have ever seen.
If Larry and I continued to live on the east coast, I am confident we would have set the goal of hiking the AT in all its 2,200-mile entirety. Prior to our arriving in Harpers Ferry, we had visited 13 of the 14 states the AT crosses. The 14 states through which the AT winds include Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Setting off from the Harpers Ferry – Bolivar trailhead in West Virginia, we conquered all 14 states.
We have lived in two of them – Georgia and Virginia. During the summer of 2015, we took an east coast themed road trip crossing 10 of them – sans Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia (which technically is not on the actual coastline). After our hike in October 2015, we now have hiked in four of them – Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, and New Hampshire – albeit not the portion of the AT in the Granite State.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a treasure every hiking enthusiast and outdoorsperson should experience.