The world is wide open on the C&O Canal Towpath
Hike 50 kilometers. Or 100 kilometers. In one day. It’s your choice.
If you’re looking for a challenge, convince a friend to join you on Sierra Club’s 43rd One Day Hike (ODH) along the C&O Canal Towpath on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
If you’re a first time aspirant of this long-haul hike, I recommend the 50K (after all the 100K is 62.2 miles…). I’ve hiked the 50K four times now and only briefly considered the 100K…but no. Someday, maybe.
The 100K hikers start in Georgetown at 3:00am, while the 50K hikers start in White’s Ferry, Maryland at 10:00am. Both end in Bolivar, West Virginia (just up the hill from Harper’s Ferry) at the community center.
You can hike at your own pace, fast or slow, you just have to finish by midnight.
The event is well-organized and there are plenty of volunteers on hand to assist you or feed you.
Each support station (four for the 50K; seven for the 100K) doles out snacks, sandwiches, soup, coffee, Gatorade and more. At the end, there is even chili (turkey and veggie), sodas and pizza. I usually eat like a king on these hikes.
Support stations are also full of volunteers ready to give aid, including the all important foot care. Blisters are the leading reason people don’t finish the hike.
Once you’ve mastered the One Day Hike, you can take a shuttle from Bolivar to the Shady Grove Metro stop. But the recommended strategy is to stay overnight in Bolivar or Harper’s Ferry. There are a number of hotels or hostels. Then you can catch the only train (11:00am) back to DC.
The registration opens this Monday, February 1st at 5:00pm. Check the One Day Hike Facebook page for more details.
(Note: Last year the hike filled in just under an hour. But if you miss out, there is still a chance. Some people will cancel as the hike draws near, so more spots do become available.)
Sierra Club’s One Day Hike 2016
C&O Canal Towpath
Saturday, April 30
Registration: Monday, February 1 @ 5:00pm
50K @ 10:00am at White’s Ferry (100K @ 3:00am at Georgetown)
Ages 13+ for 50K (16+ for 100K)
Tips for the 50K
- Training: Do at least 3-4 training hikes between 10-16 miles. More if you can but make sure one hike is 16 miles or longer (20 miles is good, but it does make for a long day!). Note: If you’re doing the 100K, without question do more and longer hikes, at least one 30-40 mile training hike would be the best strategy.
- Attire: Wear the shoes, socks and clothing you’ll use for the ODH on the training hikes. Helps identify blister hot spots and areas of chafing. Many people wear cross-trainers or running shoes. Hiking boots are also fine, but the terrain is flat and you may want to jog a bit.
- Prevent chafing: Use an anti-chafe balm (like Body Glide) in places that rub together.
- Foot care: Use moleskin on your feet before you start on your blister hot spots. Using the Body Glide on your feet also helps.
- Medical: Take a couple Advil at the first support station or after the first 1-2 hours. If you start to get blisters, have them treated at the next support station. Don’t wait, remember blisters are the primary reason people don’t finish the hike.
- On the hike: Try alternating between running and walking for short distances. For example, jog 1 minute and walk 3 minutes for a few miles. It helps to use different muscles. Drink a lot of fluids and eat a lot of salty snacks.