Don’t Miss: The Sierra Club’s Annual One Day Hike, 4/30/16

C&O Canal TowpathThe 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)
$55
Ages 13+ for 50K (16+ for 100K)

 

Tips for the 50K
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Excursion: The Sierra Club’s Annual One Day Hike — 4/25/15

2015 One Day Hike
Enjoying the 2015 One Day Hike

50 kilometers. Or 100 kilometers. Take your pick.

The 42nd One Day Hike (ODH) along the C&O Canal Towpath took place on Saturday, April 25th.

The 100K hikers start in Georgetown at 3am, while the 50K hikers start in White’s Ferry, Maryland at 10am. Both groups end in Bolivar, West Virginia (just up the hill from Harper’s Ferry) at the community center.

This was my 4th time participating in the 50K hike. By all accounts it was my fastest time yet, shaving 30+ minutes off of 2014’s time.

Yet the One Day Hike is not a race. It’s not meant to be competitive. Some people treat it that way, but many are happy to enjoy the scenery along the Potomac River and finish with minimal blisters and soreness.

I’ve found the ODH to be one of the most well-organized and well-supported walking or racing events in the DC area. In no small part to the volunteers that plan it, manage it and those volunteers that come out early and stay late to prepare food and drinks, give medical aid and patrol along the trail between support stations to help and give encouragement. ODH co-chair and volunteer coordinator, Mike Darzi, is at the forefront of this successfully run event, communicating with participants and sorting out the details each year.

ODH Sign

 

Diana Partridge, first-time hiking the 50K, “The hike was beautiful and very well-organized. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’m excited to try the 100k next year.”

Each support station (four stations for the 50K; seven for the 100K) is a veritable feast of snacks, sandwiches, soup, coffee, Gatorade, fruit, candy and more. I like the popcorn and the trail mix with M&Ms. And blue Gatorade is possibly the most delicious liquid after 20 miles of walking. Then, for the finishers at the Bolivar Community Center, there is chili (turkey and veggie), salads, sodas and pizza. I probably eat better on this hike than on most days.

The support stations also feature a medical tent where volunteers give aid to the hikers, including foot care for any pesky blisters.

Mike O’Brien, first-time medical volunteer, “I was happy to volunteer and was encouraged to see the people who I had treated at the half-way mark of the 100K, finish. Next year I’m going to join the hike.”

Once you’ve finished the hike, some people take the shuttle bus back to the Shady Grove Metro stop. But you’re tired by then, and more travel is the last thing you need. The best option is to stay in Bolivar or Harper’s Ferry at a hostel or hotel and then catch the (only) train back to DC the next morning after breakfast.

A worthy event to consider for next year!

 

The Sierra Club’s One Day Hike
Registration is usually at the beginning of February and the hike takes place the last weekend in April.
$50 for either the 50K or 100K

 

Results and Tips

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