I’m met Steve this morning sitting outside the bathrooms having breakfast and coffee.  Steve was preparing for his journey along the Appalachian trail.  He’s been on the trail since mid March and expects to finish in June.  I had no idea the AT was so close to the campground.

The previous evening I meant a couple camping next to me from the Netherlands. This morning as we were both packing up, they told me they were doing several day hikes along the trail.  They plan to spend 3 weeks in the United States before returning to Europe.  

The forecast for today was overcast and possible rain later in the afternoon.  Getting a little later start than I had wanted to, do to the fact I had to try to dry off much of the camping gear from yesterday’s rain and the overnight condensation. 

After leaving the campground, my day started with a 2 mile jaunt along a major state highway before turning onto the beautiful rolling hills and countryside roads.  Each day the farm country scenery changes. It’s quite amazing that these farms look so different and yet they serve the same purpose.  As the day progressed, the temperatures dropped in the wind picked up.  It was mostly cloudy, but the sun poked through periodically. The sun felt amazing compared to yesterday. The terrain was predominantly downhill which I much appreciated. After 36 miles of roads, I reached the C&O canal trail

Starting out of the trail, I ran into a family with two young kids in their early teens. They we’re sitting eating a lunch at a trailside picnic table in the sun. Mom and Dad were training them for bike packing / bike touring.  They rode 60 miles yesterday, camped overnight, and were heading back to their starting point today. Impressive the young kids were cycling 60 miles. The kids even had some type of gear attached to their bikes. Mom and Dad said they were learning to carry some light weight. Non the less, The kids were all smiles.

As I moved out on the trail, I realized how much more calm I was to not be thinking about cars.  Cycling through the woods and following the Potomac River was a relief. I have traveled this trail 4 times. This is the first time heading up. The C&O trail is designated a National Park. There are plenty of local towns and services.  The trail is set up with many campsites, bed & breakfasts, and hotels directly adjacent to the trail making travel easy.  Another good web reference

There were plenty of cyclists and walkers throughout the day.  I came across one seasoned couple who were out for a walk enjoying the beautiful day.  The gentleman was carrying a custom-made wooden staff with geese feathers at the top and several different emblems and braided beaded ropes.  It was quite the work of art.

Continuing up the trail I took a side detour to the Western Maryland rail trail. This trail is paved and I wanted to make some better time for much needed food and rest. And of course, the afternoon rain storm was coming fast. So I sat in the restaurant for two hours eating, drinking, and charging my phone watching the rain beat down on the pavement and planning where I would stay for the evening.  I was hoping to get another few miles down the road but at this point that isn’t going to happen.  I found a local hotel and checked in hoping to dry some gear. Another good day. I am looking forward to spending the next few days not having to think about cars.  Maybe an occasional deer.

BTW.  I see I missed The Northern lights hopefully I’ll see some along my journey.