Back to the woods

May 21, 2015, Harpers Ferry, WV: The Appalachian Adventure reunion crew enlists a hiker to help with a group photo at Weverton Cliff above Harpers Ferry, WV. Pictured are Chris Hunt, from left, Steve Grant, Scott Huler, Robin Rombach, Don Hopey, Martha Ezzard, Bo Emerson, John Ezzard and Walter Cumming with his dog Tanook. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com
May 21, 2015, Harpers Ferry, WV: The Appalachian Adventure reunion crew enlists a hiker to help with a group photo at Weverton Cliff above Harpers Ferry, WV. Pictured are Chris Hunt, from left, Steve Grant, Scott Huler, Robin Rombach, Don Hopey, Martha Ezzard, Bo Emerson, John Ezzard and Walter Cumming with his dog Tanook. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com

In 1995, journalists from five newspapers set out to hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end. This spring, 10 returned.

It was one of those wilderness moments.

In May, as we hiked up to Weverton Cliffs, east of Harpers Ferry, W.V., the drizzle began to taper off, and the sky grew lighter.

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Trees parted to reveal a rocky promontory with a dramatic drop-off below and a sweeping view beyond. The jade hills of West Virginia seemed lit from within; the Potomac River, swollen with rain, grumbled and surged toward Washington.

I stood there, slightly out of breath, drinking it in.

Then my phone rang. “Maureen,” said the screen. My wife.

“What’s up?”

“I’m at Tires Plus. We’re going to have to buy four new tires for the Subaru. Can you use your iPhone to do a little research on Continentals?”

“Um, this isn’t the best time for this,” I said.

I hung up, my well-being evaporating with the early morning rain.

“That’s BS!” said my hiking partner Don Hopey, smiling his leprechaun smile. “That’s news you don’t need to know on the Appalachian Trail!”

Get the rest of the story here, and see video interviews with the participants in the reunion hike, a panoramic view from Weverton Cliffs and many more photos from the trail.

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