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Reply to getting to Pittsburgh this weekend!

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Reply to getting to Pittsburgh this weekend!
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Team Slope from Reston, VA on 3/7/2024 3:58:18 PM:
Hey, I know it's the first week of March but will start the GAP and C&O trails this weekend. Planning on camping and riding my old Niner mountain bike. Will be with my son who is strong and has a new gravel bike.
looking forward to the adventure and a bit worried about water not being turned on in the hiker-biker camps. Have a couple of collapsable jugs and means to water purify.
I have read that if muddy, the trail will be difficult but if it's nice, we take advantage of it. It's 65 right now in Northern Virginia, here's to a good weather window in March!
Any advise would be appreciated! best regards!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 3/7/2024 6:37:33 PM:
Rain is forecast in Pittsburgh Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There may be some snow as well Sunday as nighttime temps in the low 30's are forecast. Thus, starting in Pgh this weekend would not be pleasant. The GAP will likely be soft in general during and after the weekend and into early next week. Most of the outdoor water sources are still turned off but water is available at stores and shops along the trail. Wet weather is currently forecast the following weekend as well.

The forecast weather and temps along the trails are better for the weekdays next week. The NPS C&O website does not indicate that the pump handles have been returned yet.

I must confess, that I would strongly consider adjusting my itinerary in hopes of better weather and a more enjoyable trip. At the least I'd be looking at staying indoor one or more nights to warm up and dry out or at least know what options for such are available along the way. However, I'm just a soft old man.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 3/8/2024 6:23:29 AM:
PS: The Big Savage Tunnel is still closed fr the winter to my knowledge!

Willy from Alexandria VA on 3/13/2024 11:03:53 AM:
My understanding is that Big Savage tunnel will reopen on March 28. That is earlier than most years but might not be early enough for your trip in mid-March.

Team Slope from Reston, VA on 3/17/2024 11:50:36 AM:
Thank you for the great advise. Believe were lucky. It was raining when we left the Pittsburgh Airport, and then snowed the next 2 days. We camped and stayed in BnBs.
The Savage tunnel was in fact closed, we rerouted, taking a cut through just beyond the Eastern Continental Divide. After passing the Divide, within a mile, take a hard left, go down a steep hill and up a steep hill, I pushed it!. The route came out on 160, Cumberland Highway. 160 was all down hill for nearly 10 miles. No cars passed us but it was scary fast for a mountain bike loaded with panniers. !60 ended at Barrelville. At the "T", we turned right and then left at woodcock hollow road, up a steep hill back to the GAP, but looking at a better map today, there may be a better route.
Best surprise of the trip was how much we enjoyed the entire length of the C&O (surface was faster than the GAP).
We missed the section from the Divide and the Savage Tunnel so have to get back there soon!

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 3/17/2024 4:02:27 PM:
Vey glad that you’ve taken the time time to tell us about your trip

Suffice it to say I’m very impressed with your heartiness and perseverance in making the trip when you did and under those weather conditions. Further, you’ve sent me headlong into Google maps to try to follow your detour around the closed Big Savage Tunnel…not that I would ever consider trying it. :-)

Hopefully, you’ll get the opportunity go back and ride the GAP downhill section from the Continental Divide down through the Big Savage Tunnel and beyond and hopefully under more hospitable conditions.