Thursday, August 5, 2010

Appalachian Trail Maryland: Gathland State Park

Hiking north on the Appalachian Trail from Harpers Ferry, the first Maryland state park one encounters is Gathland State Park.

Gathland SP is memorable due to the unusual looking War Correspondents Memorial which is easily visible from along the trail.

North bound hikers will be descending as they enter Gathland SP. You'll see an opening to your left with steps going down towards a clearing. As you exit the woods and enter the park proper, you'll see a building and a large tree with wrap around benches. Head for the bench and take a load off your back.

Unless you made the 4/10ths mile trek downhill and back at the Ed Garvey shelter, you're probably thirsty and looking for water. Pure water is available from the red faucet located between the tree bench and the restrooms. If you're looking for a cold soda, you're likely out of luck, unless offered trail magic. There were two soda machines at the end of the restrooms facing the tree bench, but neither worked and both were scheduled to be removed at the end of May 2010.

Refreshed and re-hydrated, this is a good time to wander along the rock wall and read the various plaques detailing the civil war history of this area. Remember, you'll not likely pass this way again unless you're a local hiker. Don't forget to get out your camera and take a photo of the War Correspondents Memorial.

If this is a planned meal stop, then after getting water, head across the road where you'll find a pavilion with picnic tables.

For everyone continuing northbound along the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail, the trail continues north from the intersection in front of the memorial, up the grassy hill to the right of the picnic pavilion. Shortly after re-entering the woods at the top of the hill, watch for the blue blaze trail on your right to Crampton Gap shelter.

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