I took a little vacation from the trail once I got to Harpers Ferry and enjoyed some pretty sweet spots away from the mountains. I think the half way point was a good place to take a little break from hiking, let my body rest, and see some friends and family. Looking back now I think it was nice to be able to reflect on the first half of my hike, off trail, and look at it from a different perspective. I had a great time being home, but now I’m back in trail mode and ready to attack the second half.
My first stop was Stoneybrook Organic Farm, in Virginia. The farm is run by the 12 Tribes spiritual community. There is some controversy surrounding the community and I won’t get into that, but I had a good experience with them and everyone was very friendly towards me. They offer a work for stay hostel on their property and I thought what better than to spend a couple days on the farm. Along with the farm, they run a tree cutting business, bakery, and farm store. I ended up staying for three nights and worked one full day on the farm. The community cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner using eggs and produce from their own harvest. The food was excellent and I was pumped every time I would finish my plate and somebody would tell me to go get more. My day on the farm reminded me of being out in the fields back home. I worked with Eldod, and his son David, who are the primary farmers everyday. We did everything from feeding the chickens to harvesting their whole planting of garlic (which is my favorite plant to harvest). The community provides cabins for the hikers to sleep in and has a separate cabin for showers and laundry. I enjoyed my time here and glad I checked it out!
My next stop was Washington D.C. I went two times actually. Once with Spaceship, Fuego, and Gabe and again because I had be there to catch my train to Boston. From Harpers Ferry you can take the train into Union Station. It takes about an hour. I got to see a lot when we visited. The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, The Korean War Memorial, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Holocaust Museum, Natural History Museum, and a few more. It was nice to be able to see everything with friends and we all wanted to see as much as we could. I also got a burrito from a food truck that was incredible and two slices of pizza from a local spot which were also highlights.
My last stop brought me to Squam Lake! Squam is in New Hampshire, just south of the White Mountains. Every summer my best friend, Jack, and his family rent out a house on Hoag Island. You drive to the boat house and the only way to get to the house is by getting picked up at the boat house and boating to the island. Squamin is amazing and I was happy to have the opportunity to go for a few days this summer. This year my friend Tim came all the way from California. I hadn’t seen Tim in a while since he’s in the West Coast so it was great seeing him. It was also great to see my friend Adam who I hadn’t seen in a while either. Some of my other friends couldn’t make it so they were definitely missed, but I’m hoping to see them soon! The lake is beautiful. We usually spend the days, fishing, canoeing, swimming, going to jumping rock, or hanging out on the dock. This year we were able to go wakeboarding too! Each morning we would hike up Rattlesnake Mountain and enjoy the view of the lake at the top. Jacks cousins from Florida, who I had seen before coming to the A.T., did not know I was coming so it was fun surprising them when they came. One of my favorite things about Squam is all the good food you can eat. You have the snack aisle open 24/7, but the Squam dinners are some of the best dinners you’ll ever have. Jack’s Mom always nails it with the food each year! The days flew by and before we knew it, Jack was taking me back to the boathouse so I could drive back home. The weather was amazing everyday and couldn’t have been happier!