Miles from Springer Mountain: 1029.2
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 1162.8
This past weekend I took a few days off trail to surprise Haley for her IUPUI graduation. The plan had been in the works for over a month, everything worked out perfectly. It was the perfect weekend of reunion, family, and celebration. I am sorry I wasn’t able to see all my friends and family, we kept the word quiet to maintain the surprise and I knew with the short timeline I wouldn’t be able to see everyone.
Early Thursday morning I woke up at 4 to catch the MARC train from Harpers Ferry, WV to Union Station in Washington, D.C. From there I took the Metro to Reagan International and waited for my flight around 12. Everything was going smoothly so far, I wasn’t answering Haley’s calls and switched to airplane mode when she was on breaks. I made one crucial error – in the morning I turned off my location sharing and it notified her, I had no idea a notification would pop up. It didn’t ruin the surprise, but she became quite suspicious!
Besides some minor turbulence the flight was pretty plain, after my arrival I waited for Haley to get off work. Unfortunately she got off work a little late and ran some errands, the time waiting felt like forever – all this time I was ignoring her calls and only texting intermittently, I can imagine she was getting fairly annoyed! When she arrives home from work she usually goes outside to play with the dog, I knew this so I positioned my camera on the table and stood excitingly as she opened the door.
Surprise! I hadn’t ruined the surprise, I pulled it off! We were both shaking, it was an emotional moment. We relaxed the rest of the day, Haley still had a half day of work on friday before the weekend could completely kick off.
On Friday my grandpa, Terry, drove down with my brother, Alec, to come see me for a short time – we ate some pizza and enjoyed a drink before Alec and I explored some of the local breweries. The rest of the night we all hung out and celebrating, in preparation for the big day on Saturday.
Commencement on Saturday was a long, special ceremony in Lucas Oil Stadium – seeing Haley accomplish so much inspires me to one day soon have my own graduation! After all pictures and wonderful party preparation by Haley and her family we all celebrated the night away.
It was so joyous to see so many friends who came to congratulate Haley and enjoy each other’s company. In a way it made it hard to fly away and get back on trail, I’ll be honest and say that the serious thought of staying home loomed on my mind, but in the end I know I have a dream and goal that I need to accomplish. I flew back yesterday to D.C., took the Amtrak train to Harpers Ferry and set back on the trail right where I left off. It wasn’t a bad weekend to be off trail – it rained everyday and unfortunately it lingered into Sunday night.
I said goodbye to Harpers Ferry, but along the way I passed by Jefferson Rock – the point that Thomas Jefferson stood out to see the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, and the site of the armory that was the focus of John Brown’s Raid. I passed over the Potomac River and crossed into Maryland, proceeding only about 3 miles in before finding a spot to stealth camp for the night.
I apologize this blog is a few days behind, the past week has been very busy! Thank you all so much for reading and following along, I was able to hear so many words of encouragement. The next post will catch you up and include my travels through Maryland!