United States
Clarke County

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    • Day 2,894

      1000 Miles (1600km) walked

      June 14, 2023 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      For 99.999 % of our species time on this planet we’ve been walking through the forests. It’s been painful but wonderful to get back to my roots. It doesn’t get much better than waking to birdsong, drinking spring water all day, and walking through the woods. Love this trail.Read more

    • Day 3

      Day 3 - The dog days are over

      May 4 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

      I wake up:

      1) earlier than I’d have liked, and
      2) cold. Not a bit chilly. Actually cold.

      Looking outside, I quickly understand the temperature. There has been much rain overnight, and the pavements (sidewalks) are slick with water. I went to bed with clear skies, and the temperature hovering around 21C. It’s now overcast, rainy, and 13C. Brrrrr.

      The waking up bit is hardly unexpected. I was asleep before 10:00, and am wide awake at 05:00. Solid sleep, but am gonna be bored for a while before the world wakes up.

      My plan today is not to have a plan. I need to get over to Winchester by 14:00-15:00 to get checked in, before meeting Clay and Kris for drinks/food etc etc. It’s an hour drive, so I’ve got lots of time to play with.

      Walking out into the parking lot, it’s pooning it down, really quite unpleasantly. My initial thought had been to head to a couple of Civil War battlefields nearby, but outside can go fuck itself. There are some cool sounding wine, beer and cider stops further over towards Winchester, but none are open until 11:00 or 12:00. As a result, I decide to drive 40 minutes North, over the border with Maryland, to a cannabis dispensary. Most of the states I’m driving through are still cannabis deniers, so this will be my last chance to grab some smoke for the next couple of weeks.

      The weed dispensary is a very interesting experience. It started out as a medical marijuana dispenser, but with the changes in recreational use laws in Maryland in 2019, now sells to adult recreational users as well. I’m not 100% convinced my UK passport will be accepted as proof of ID until it is. There’s a tablet on the wall to make my choices, before queuing to pick my order up at the dispensary. It’s kind of like going to an Argos. After Vicks and my foray with pre-rolleds, I want to try weed vapes. I’d rather not chuck tobacco into my lungs if I can avoid it. There’s a broad range of options, so I plump for a Sativa strain for the day, that will allegedly leave me energised, creative and bouncy, as well as an Indica strain that promises me relaxed, sleepy and blissed out. Well, I’ll be the judge of that.

      Back on the road, I head in the approximate direction of Winchester, via a very pretty town called Middleburg. On the way into town, I stop at Cana Estates winery for a quick tasting. They give me 3 wines, 2 of which are brilliant. The third is well…. The first two are brilliant!

      As I leave the town (village), there’s a cider barn. Of course I stop. They brew their own ciders on-site, and I grab a tasting flight of 4 ciders. One is great, one is good, one is ok, and one is actively unpleasant. I figure this is about fair.

      From Middleburg, I head out along Route 50. It’s a lovely scenic drive. More of those sweeping curves and undulating roads. At one point, I start driving up a slight incline which ultimately continues for a few miles. Suddenly, I'm in the very low lying cloud, the view of which is really pretty special. I half expect to see a gorilla emerging from the mist. I stop briefly to try and photograph this eerily quiet perspective.

      Back on the road, I drive past a sign for a brewery called Twisted Oak. Yes, of course I do. I have a flight of 4 of their beers. I luck out this time, as all are great. Amazingly, the Stout is brewed with coffee tequila, though I’m not sure if it’s the hallowed Café Patron Vicks and I encountered in Thailand. I ask the guy behind the counter, but he looks at me with suspicion. It gives a smoky and slightly salty flavour to the beer - delicious. There are a couple of IPAs, one of which is hazy in the New England style, and which I could drink by the bucketload. Finally, there’s an Amber ale, sharing a lot of DNA with British bitter. It’s called Arlo’s Amber, after the Jack Russell, Arlo, who is the hound of the property. He seems to sense that I am not a dog person, by coming to sit with me. He nuzzles, he lies down. At one point, he rolls over and shows me his belly (and balls). I give him some strokes, but I think he suspects my heart is not in it.

      It’s only another 15 mins up the road to Winchester. Happily, my room is available to check-in when I arrive…

      Had a great evening catching up with Clay, and meeting Kris for the first time. Clay and I worked together at SHL for the best part of 10 years, until he was made redundant when the new private equity owners decided to offshore the vast majority of digital and product roles to India. It’s worked out really well for him, as he secured a huge pay rise, and now works in a place not widely populated by idiots. I’ve not met Kris before, but it’s lovely finally to put a face to the name. She’s had awful problems with her spine for the past 10 or so years, and has just recently had (yet) another surgery, this time at the world famous Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore. It seems to have helped, but she’s still pretty early on in her recovery. Their place is in Berryville, a small town 10 or so miles from my hotel in Winchester. Their detached, 3 bedroom house on a plot of around an acre set them back about £250k. Outside of the bigger towns and cities in the US, there is amazing value to be had in property. I also get to meet Harvey, their bulldog, about whom I have also heard much. He’s a lovely, chunky and solid fella.

      We head up to a brewery called Bear Chase, up at the top of the mountain. I’m told the views are typically breathtaking, but today the mountaintop is shrouded in low-lying cloud. Visibility is about 10 metres, tops. It’s very cool, albeit in a slightly different way than planned. We have a few beers, and a pretty decent band strikes up. We’re all getting peckish, so C+K take me to a local restaurant called Suecats, which is run by a friend, . Clay and Kris demand that we try the fried green tomatoes, as they’re new to me, and I then have an amazing bowl of shrimp and grits (similar to polenta). The dish is hugely tasty. When chef comes to say hi, I ask how he’s elevated the humble grit to such high heights. His response? “A ton of butter, a ton of cream, and a ton of cheese.” Righto.

      My early start is beginning to catch up with me. I order an Uber, which takes a long while before a driver accepts. We’re properly out in the sticks, and having accepted the ride request, it’s fully 25 minutes until I’m picked up. Being somewhat refreshed, I attempt to engage my driver in conversation. This does not go well. After 4 single syllable responses to my 4 questions, I admit defeat. I’m back at my hotel by 22:00, and face down fully asleep only moments later.
      Read more

    • Day 53

      Für eine Handvoll Pommes.

      March 24 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 1 °C

      Mit jeder Menge Vorfreude haben wir uns auf den Weg nach Harpers Ferry gemacht. Dort liegt das Headquarter der ATC und soll die emotionale Hälfte des Trails sein (auch wenn Harpers Ferry noch nicht ganz auf der Hälfte liegt). Jedes Jahr werden von der ATC „Halfway Pictures“ von den Thru-Hikern dort gemacht. Dieser Tradition wollte ich unbedingt nachkommen.

      Auf dem Weg dorthin passierten wir die Staatsgrenze zwischen Virginia und West Virginia. An der Grenze zu stehen war ein überragendes Gefühl, da Virginia einer der längsten Abschnitte auf dem Trail ist! Die Freude war riesig!

      Zum Mittagessen gönnten Jochen und ich uns einen Burger und ne riesige Portion Eis an einer Tankstelle. Während des Essens hatten wir jede Menge Unterhaltung.

      Ein Kind musste sich mehrmals neben uns übergeben, während sich seine Mutter per Gestik bei uns entschuldigte.
      Kurz darauf schoss ein Fahrzeug auf die andere Straßenseite über die Straßenbegrenzung. Jochen und ich sind dermaßen erschrocken, dass wir einfach nur auf unseren Plätzen saßen und nicht mal das Weite suchten, als das Fahrzeug auf uns zukam. Glücklicherweise hatte der Fahrer das Fahrzeug unter Kontrolle und parkte es an der Tankstelle. Bei dem Riesenschlag verlor es die Motorabdeckung und jede Menge Flüssigkeit. Der Fahrer eines weiteren Fahrzeugs zwang den Mann nicht weiter zu fahren und rief die Polizei. Offensichtlich war er schwer betrunken. Ich konnte sogar sehen, wie er eine Schnapsflasche neben dem Fahrzeug ausleerte.

      Kurze Zeit später kamen Feuerwehr, Rettungsdienst und Polizei. So viel Action waren wir nicht mehr gewohnt! Es war wie Kino ohne Eintritt und Popcorn.

      Als wir auf der Brücke über den Shenandoahriver liefen, dämmerte es schon. Die Stimmung im Abendrot war herrlich! Jochen und ich versuchten, mit einem aussagekräftigen Bild die Stimmung einzufangen.

      Bei Dunkelheit und viel zu spät für das Halfway Picture sind wir in Harper Ferry angekommen. Selbst bei Nacht genossen wir es, die historischen Gebäude der Altstadt anzuschauen.

      Zum „ersten“ Abendessen gab es die Reste von einem Pärchen, welches Mitleid mit uns hatte. In der ganzen Stadt war kein Restaurant mehr offen, und der Supermarkt war meilenweit entfernt.

      Jochen und ich wirkten so verzweifelt, dass die beiden ihre Reste, welche sie aus einem Restaurant mitgenommen hatten, uns überließen. Nur widerwillig nahmen wir das Geschenk an, waren aber in diesem Moment sehr glücklich darüber, weil es keine Aussicht auf ein Abendessen gab. Es gab einen halben Burger mit Blauschimmelkäse und eine Handvoll Pommes. Überragend! Einfach unglaublich, wie nett hier die Menschen zu Wanderern sind!

      Unsere Unterkunft für den Abend lag außerhalb der Stadt, weshalb wir noch etwa 45 Minuten dorthin wandern mussten. Dabei sind wir illegalerweise über Bahngleise gestiegen und Jochen hat sich bei einem Sturz den Finger verletzt. Besser hätte es also nicht laufen können! Total erschöpft kamen wir kurz vor 22:00 Uhr beim „Cross Trails Hostel“ an. Zu unserer Überraschung gab es dort noch eine Tiefkühlpizza für unsere knurrenden Mägen.

      (Von den zwei Zelten im Shelter konnte ich erst morgens ein Bild machen)
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Clarke County, مقاطعة كلارك, Кларк, ক্লার্কে কাউন্টি, Condado de Clarke, Clarke konderria, شهرستان کلارک، ویرجینیا, Comté de Clarke, Clarke megye, Contea di Clarke, クラーク郡, Konteth Clarke, Clarke Kūn, Hrabstwo Clarke, کلارک کاؤنٹی, Comitatul Clarke, Округ Кларк, کلارک کاؤنٹی، ورجینیا, Quận Clarke, Condado han Clarke, 克拉克縣

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