We drove a solid hour and a quarter to get to this section of the Appalachian Trail, west of Frederick. The day was lovely: sunny and warm but not too hot, with a good breeze. It was the first time my coworker and I had hiked together, and, given that we are now vomit sisters (that's like blood brothers), I wonder whether it will be the last. My coworker seemed nervous, worried that I would be in better shape than she was, and conscious of young gazelle-like women in sports bras who occasionally zoomed past us. There was a lot of uphill to begin with-- not painful climbing, but long stretches of dirt-and-logs arranged into rudimentary staircases. Not so hard, but kind of tiring and boring. Other hikers abounded, including a very large group of children with chaperones. The woods were green on top, brown on the bottom, unremarkable, with little in the way of noticeable wildlife besides squirrels and a few birds.
There were some interesting, quartz-y stones here and there, if you're into that sort of thing.
If I thought much of anything, I thought: this is the famous AT? Is it all so damaged and dusty from generations of hikers passing through?
We reached Annapolis Rocks, and there were indeed rocks there at the top of a cliff-face, a whole assortment of them perfect for picnic-sitting nooks, which was fortunate because there were a lot of people inhabiting all the nooks. There was this view:
Diagnosis: perimenopausal hormone chaos (on my third period in a row at two-week intervals) plus an exhausting past few days plus some exertion/heat/dehydration plus I accidentally made decaf coffee in the morning instead of regular. Plus the eternal fucking background stress of Donald fucking Trump.
The hike back to the car is largely a blur. It was the same hike backwards, anyway, but now with more blinding pain. I asked my friend to drive back, which, if you knew me, you'd know meant it was an emergency. I always want to drive. I didn't fully recover for two days.
That was Annapolis Rocks. Your experience may differ.