Location: Devil’s Backbone Racecourse Shelter, Maryland
I hiked 33 miles today. I crossed from Pennsylvania into Maryland late this afternoon. The sign marking the Mason Dixon line had been stolen and only permanent marker scribbling on the post designated the border. There was a sign though that said ‘Welcome to the south. Free whores.’ After a rest at the park just across the border, Not Bad pushed ahead of me. He planned to do a forty mile day and finish at the shelter beyond the one where I decided I would sleep tonight.
At the end of the day, I climbed up the nastiest boulder scramble I have crossed since Chairback Mountain in Maine. It lasted for over a mile, and I raced the sunset yet again over treacherous terrain. I didn’t reach the top before night fell, so I hiked several hundred yards on the dangerous boulders in the dark with my headlamp. I couldn’t spot the blazes on the boulders. The white paint isn’t reflective so it’s especially hard to see at night when I can only glance a few seconds at a time to see the trail ahead of me. I’m constantly focusing on my next step, and the attention can be fatiguing.
I’m sleeping at Devil’s Racecourse shelter, which is hundreds of yards off the trail in a deep ravine. The shelter is the worst I have seen. It is small, decrepit, and full of mice. I’m alone, and I can hear cars pass behind the shelter. Dogs bark in nearby yards. I keep thinking that the next car will be a group of rowdy locals ready to drink at the shelter on a Friday night.