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Monday, May 28, 2012

Day Three: Hancock MD to Devil's Alley H/B (MP145)

05/28/12 45m
Day Three began like many a "morning after", with an admixture of uncertainty and mild trepidation. We joined up at the Red Rood Inn, where one of us had spent the night, and had breakfast at the adjacent Waffle House.

We knew there were trees down along the trail, and some reports of flooding. After a bit of smartphoning we decided we'd try to continue on the trail since there was no attractive road alternative, and if we discovered that it was impassable then we'd deal with that when we found it. I was impressed at the group's sang froid as they dealt with changing situations and partial information.

A diversion: I was intrigued about the Red Roof Inn because another group is considering planning an overnight there. I've stayed there twice before, long ago. Online comments are mixed with many disappointments documented. CA was pleased with the room at the price he paid, but I also noticed there are many things that don't meet the gold standard - if you're looking for a safe $60 room near the trail it's OK, if you're looking for the Holiday-Inn-Express equivalent you'll be disappointed.

As we entered the Trail at MP101, I reflected that we were now north of the traditional PermaBog conditions that are often present below Harper's Ferry - but of course, with the storm, the entire area is soaked now. There were trees and debris and mud; the song of the morning was, "Fifty Ways to be a Mudder".

At MP117 we were thrilled to transition to the parallel, paved WMRT Trail, and then to stop at Weaver's in Hancock for lunch. The people in Hancock are eagerly pursuing the "Trail Economy" and are making their town a "trail destination". There are efforts to extend the WMRT across several bridges and tunnels, that would be awesome.

Back on the paved trail, which was really nice although possibly monotonous. At MP156 (Pearre) the WMRT ends and you transition back to the C&O Canal.

I wanted to stop in Little Orleans to see what's going on at Bill's Place but I was upon it before I knew it, so I passed it - next time I'll stop. We made camp at MP145, the Devil's Alley Hiker/Biker site.

We were joined by one solo camper and another duo, and I was surprised to see that three of the seven of us were using Hennessy Hammocks. At the picnic table there was a bit of a geek discussion about our various connectivity problems (no one could get online at the campsite), but Cody Law took the gizmo-prize when he explained that the MiFi he carries wasn't working either. Game. Set. Match.

After dinner, our raconteur and bon vivant CA produced a wonderful rice pudding. Laundry, showers, early to bed.

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