Fox’s Gap to Washington Monument

No, not the pointy one in DC. Out on the Appalachian Trail in Boonsboro, there is a short squatty one made of stones. In an attempt not to hike from Gathland State Park to Harpers Ferry AGAIN because (a) that would be time number 5 or 6, (b) our knees don’t like the descent from Weverton Cliff and (c) my hips really don’t like the 17-mile flat stretch along the river to get from the mountains back to Harpers Ferry, we hiked from Fox’s Gap to Washington Milk Bottle Monument. Neither of us had done much in the way of hills anything since May’s traipse through the San Jacinto Wilderness, and the ups on this moderate trail sadly kicked our butts.

Total distance: 6.87 mi
Max elevation: 1545 ft
Min elevation: 961 ft
Total climbing: 1529 ft
Total descent: -1529 ft
Average speed: 2.69 mi/h
Total time: 03:38:46

The Route

There is a dirt parking lot at Fox’s Gap. If you accidentally head south on the well-signed trail, you’ll find yourself at a Confederate war memorial. Whoops! Turn around and go back, you want the AT entrance on the OTHER side of the street.

Near Fox’s Gap, you’ll find Dahlgren Campground¬†for backpackers, with toilets, picnic benches and a raccoon pole. What’s a raccoon pole? Well, it’s like a bear pole, but shorter. A bear would just snack on anything you hung on it. Frankly I’m pretty sure it’s not raccoon-proof either, as I’ve seen three of them stand on either other’s shoulders in my background to form a tower that would rival a circus performance so they could reach a bird feeder. The toilet building is closed in winter, but the state kindly provides a clean portapotty.

In the Washington Monument parking lot, I found the closest thing I’m going to experience to a white Christmas this year … a pile of leftover snow.

I’m dreaming of whiiiite Christmas.

Dar was also attracted to the pile of leftover snow.

Snow piles call for funny faces, obviously.

The Milk Bottle

The milk bottle monument looks out over a scenic something-or-other.

Such antler. Very reindeer.

See? It’s totally a milk bottle.

Washington Juice Jar?

Logistics

I wore a short-sleeved tee, a long-sleeved tee, a dense fleece hoodie, gloves, and ear bags. With the variation in sun and exertion, sometimes I wore all of those things, and I sometimes I was down to the two tee shirts with my sleeves pushed up. The high was around 50 degrees when we reached the monument.

Parking at Fox’s Gap is free.

Equipment

Backpack Camelbak Rim Runner hydration pack
Navigation iPhone 6 with AllTrails Pro (which very kindly alerted us when we went the wrong way down the trail)
Shoes HOKA ONE Stinson ATR 5 Trail-Running Shoe
I had to stop on the way back to put blister bandaids on the outside of both big toes and the inside of my right heel. Gotta remember to play offense on those rubby spots! Bandaids before starting!
Socks Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew Toesocks
Poles No need for trekking poles on this hike, just fitness.
Food
  • stacks of pre-sliced cheese squares and dry salami
  • peanuts