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The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

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fallsdownalot from Long Island, New York on 10/16/2023 1:35:13 PM:
On October 18 my wife and I will be taking Amtrak to Pittsburgh where we'll start an eastbound thru hike of the GAP and C+O trails. If you see an older couple with gray hair feel free to stop and say hello. Oh, and yes we're ready for cold weather.
Happy Trails.

Rivnuts from Homestead PA on 10/16/2023 8:55:16 PM:
I’m curious how long you expect to take to hike the length of the GAP and C&O Trails?

WKR from Brunswick, MD on 10/17/2023 7:42:26 PM:
Sounds like a neat idea. I hope you have a great time!

Most of the discussions here are regarding bikes riding through so it's nice to hear someone doing something different. I'm thinking doing something non-bike myself. I've spent some time working out a plan, just in a spreadsheet so far, to run the length of the C&O. Perhaps when I retire in a couple years.

fallsdownalot from Long Island, New York on 11/25/2023 12:42:26 PM:
fallsdownalot here, I thought I'd add a bit of a trip report on our hike.

Amtrak got us into Pittsburgh about 930PM on our start day. We set off for Point State Park and found the start of the GAP at about 10:20PM. We set off and followed the trail to the other side of the Hot Metal Bridge. Once on the other side of the river, at about 12:30AM my wife saw a hotel and decided we needed to get a room. We set out the next day following the trail headed toward Cumberland. At our first break of the day, while we were sitting on some large rocks, we got to meet Rivnut. As we went on we were amazed by the fall colors and how different the geology was from where we live, on NY's Long Island. At first we were averaging about 10 miles a day but as our legs got stronger the daily mileage started to go up. I think the longest was about 15. About a 100 miles in, my left leg developed a problem. Not knowing what it was we kept going, which in hind sight was a mistake. We spent a day in the motel in Myersdale hoping the rest would help my leg. It didn't but we kept going. Also, there was some snow the night before we got to Myersdale. That made things more scenic. During the trip we had temps between high 60s and low 20s, sun, rain wind and snow, but it's all good. If you think the weather is bad it's just because you are dressed wrong. We used a hiker/biker camp site at Ohiopyle State Park only to find that they didn't provide any water there. So it was a long walk up to the regular campground to find water. We stopped in many of the towns along the way if for no other reason but to find coffee, as we don't carry that in our packs. Also along the way I think we stopped to read every sign teaching about the region. I was amazed by the major part railroads played in this part of the country. We met an awful lot of people who couldn't believe that we were walking to DC, I guess it's not done very often. We did meet 1 other hiker going from Cumberland to Pittsburgh. When we arrived in Cumberland we spent 3 days there to resupply again and to give my aching leg some respite. Then we set off on the C+O Canal Trail and noticed right away how different it was from the GAP. We did 20 miles and 2 nights to get us to the hiker/biker site at lock 65. The next morning I decided to end the hike as my leg was just too painful. We hiked back to lock 70 were I was able to get phone service and call the bike shop in Cumberland, Wheelzup, to arrange for a shuttle back to town. There it was another night in the hotel was we made Amtrak reservations to get home. The C+O is just going to have to wait for another trip. A trip to the doctors with some x-rays and an MRI showed that I have a stress fracture in my left tibia bone. The crazy thing is that I don't remember doing anything that might have caused other than walking.
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Happy holidays to all.
Hey Rivnut, how did you get that name? I've installed many of them during my working years.

JM from OBX on 11/25/2023 4:04:24 PM:
Thanks for the trip report, Falls. I (and undoubtedly others) have been wondering how you and your wife fared. You have my respect for starting your trip so late in the fall season and for persevering despite what sounds like a very painful injury. Rest up and enjoy the post-adventure glow!

Rivnuts from Homestead PA on 11/25/2023 9:28:39 PM:

I was hoping we’d hear from your about your adventure. When I saw you that first morning, you were headed into a full day of rain the following day and colder temperatures were surely ahead that time of year, especially at the higher elevations. I’m heartened to hear you took the time to take in some of the history of our region and the GAP and C&O. If you are interested you will find more discussion of the history of the railroads and other industries in the book “The Great Allegheny Passage Companion” by Bill Metzger. The book is very informative and entertaining. I hope the leg heals well so you can get back on the trails and partcularly the C&O.

As for my pseudonym Rivnuts, I chose it as a somewhat esoteric reference to an element of cycling as most bicycle bottle cage holders are attached to the bicycle frame using rivnuts. Very few have heard or know of them or their relationship to bicycles. Most people presume it is some off color physical reference.

WKR from Brunswick, MD on 11/30/2023 10:07:15 AM:
Sorry to hear about the injury but sounds like you had a great time nonetheless. Can't wait to hear about your C&O adventures. ;)

It's funny how close western PA is but how different the weather can be. My mom was from Uniontown so I'm familiar with seeing snow pretty early in the season.