We did it! We finished the C&O Canal Towpath. All 184.5 miles. It was a great walk, with every flavor of weather imaginable. As you can see, we were pretty happy with this particular milestone. The night before, we had prepared with dinner at a Cumberland Chinese restaurant, where David enjoyed the Moo Goo Guy Down, and I had the Chicken To Mein. Cumberland was probably once a thriving metropolis, but it’s clearly seen better days. The most evident commercial activity was the drug-dealing along the Canal and near the visitor’s center (“Hey kids, look, it’s an honest-to-goodness drug exchange. Not all of our guests get to see that!”). Alanna and Peg had discovered – I kid you not – a Bosnian restaurant, where we went to celebrate our milestone. In a moment of defiant victory, I decided my lunch would be baklava and cannoli – Dammit, I earned it!
No rest for the dedicated, we started out on the Great Allegheny Passage (or, as we hiking snobs call it, “the GAP”). So here’s where a little math comes in. Over the previous 24 days we had hiked about 350 miles, and our total elevation gain was about 700′. To put that in perspective, that’s the same slope you would get if you put a perfectly flat 10′ beam on a perfectly flat surface, and put a dime under one end. Pretty easy hiking. Well, our first day on the GAP we hiked 16 miles from Cumberland to Frostburg, and gained 1200′. That would be like taking that same beam and putting 34 more dimes under one end! We did it fine, even arriving in Frostburg half an hour earlier than planned. I guess we owe our sag-wagon drivers big time, as they were in the middle of enjoying a visit to a bookstore when they got our pickup call. We heard about that one! Onward we go.