We all wanted ice cream, and after looking around Shepherdstown, and figuring out that they had none, we headed to a place called Nutters just 4 miles away in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Once again, we found ourselves on a quaint, historic main street. When we found Nutters, the line was out the door! A very good sign! They had about 20 flavors of homemade ice cream, and they gave you a ridiculous amount for the money - the scoops were huge! After making pigs of ourselves, we noticed a sign on the corner pointing to Antietam, and so we headed that way. The park was open til dark, and it was just now 7:00.
We drove around, stopping occasionally to read plaques, and ended up climbing the observation tower, watching the beautiful sunset over the Civil War battlefield, and counting the deer as they came out into the meadows. I think we ended up counting about 32 before we left. It was a perfect evening - nice and cool and breezy, and no one around except us.
The net morning, the 9th, I ran over early to the adjacent laundromat to do our weekly 1 load of laundry, and struck up a conversation with a man who had ridden his bike there to do laundry. It turned put that he worked at the Appalachian Trail Conservatory, and had worked there for 31 years! He was, of course, a wealth of knowledge, and I really enjoyed our visit. He had started working on the AT trail crews when he was just 16 up in New Hampshire. Although he had been involved with the AT his whole life, he had never done a thru-hike, so he had questions about that. Doing laundry has never been more pleasant!
After I was done, we all got in the car and set off to see some historic sites. First stop was Charles Town, which was originated by George Washington's brother. This was also the site of the trial and hanging of the abolitionist, John Brown. After we saw the courthouse, we walked down 4 blocks through a neighborhood full of historic homes, to the site of the hanging. There was an impressive home there on the same property, and the owner came out and spoke with us at length about it. He had lived there a long time, and restored it. It was also for sale, for the bargain price of 1.5 million.
He told us to make sure we wandered through a graveyard on the way back, because many members of the Washington's family were buried there. We did end up finding it, but apparently George was not buried here, just some of his siblings and their families.
We went back to the car, admiring the gorgeous old homes as we went, and ended up in Harpers Ferry. While Daniel and Elise took in the sites, Keith, I and Swamprat spent out time at the Outfitters, trying on shoes, and making some important gear purchases for the second half of our trip.
We also took them to Hannah's Train Depot so we could have those ribs again. They were just as good the second time! The last stop of the day was the ATC, where we picked up our resupply boxes, had postcards made with our official photo on it, and checked out the huge 3D relief map of the trail. We showed Elise and Daniel the Hiker Lounge, and the book of hikers that now had us in it! We were quite proud.
We returned to the hotel and relaxed for the rest of the evening. Us three hikers were working on thinning our packs for the summer portion of the hike. Keith and I ended up sending quite a bit home with Elise and Daniel. They will be mailing some of it on the Keith's parents, and we will get it back before we enter the cooler temps of New Hampshire. We decided to have a weigh in at the Outfitters in the morning. The lightest pack wins! I decided to get serious about letting go of some clothing, especially since the summer heat was supposed to be hitting here soon. I was determined to win the weigh in!
- Steady and F100